Oceangoing cargo that isn’t shipped in containers has been one of the leading sources of growth for the State Ports Authority.
That business is poised to increase even more with Grieg Star Shipping’s decision to use the Port of Charleston for a new monthly service from South America.
The deal was announced Friday.
The service is being driven primarily by steel and wood product imports from Brazil, but there will also be some exporting options from South Carolina, said Grethe Hoyvik, vice president and general manager of Grieg Star.
“By adding Charleston on a monthly basis to our liner service, we can serve the demand of our customers along the East Coast and across the growing Southeast marketplace,” Hoyvik said in a statement.
Ports that are part of the new service route include Santos, Rio de Janeiro, Praia Mole and Portocel.
Grieg Star will also offer import and export routes for Europe and Asia, in addition to South America, officials said.
The new service adds to the growth of noncontainerized “break-bulk” freight at the SPA. This expanding cargo category includes unwieldy or heavy items like power generators, wired coil, BMW vehicles and paper products.
The business also creates demand for more dockside warehouse space and use of the authority’s Union Pier Terminal in downtown Charleston, ports chief Jim Newsome has said.
Earlier this month, the agency reported that its break-bulk tonnage has swelled during the first nine months of its fiscal year. The SPA’s facilities in Charleston and Georgetown handled more than 1.2 million tons of noncontainerized goods from July to March, up 14.5 percent from the year-earlier period.
While the break-bulk business is growing, it makes up a small percentage of the SPA’s revenue when stacked up against the agency’s main container business.
Reach Tyrone Richardson at 937-5550.