The State Ports Authority saw a rise in container volume in April, boosting optimism that the upward trend will continue for the rest of the year due in-part to larger vessels calling on Port of Charleston, officials reported today.

The SPA facilities handled 134,718 20-foot-long containers, up nine percent compared to the same month a year ago and 17 percent above 2011, officials said.

Jim Newsome, the maritime agency’s chief executive officer, said the volume continues to grow due to new services added and aggressive sales efforts.

For the current fiscal year, which ends in July, container volume is up 10 percent compared to the same 10-month span a year ago, officials reported today.

The Port of Charleston moved 1,295,717 20-foot-long containers during the past 10 months, compared to 1,178,843 units in the previous fiscal year.

Newsome said the state agency is expected to end the current fiscal year strong due to an uptick in larger vessels calling on Charleston.

“With new service deployments beginning in June, and additional large vessels calling our port this month, we expect a solid finish to the fiscal year,” Newsome said.

The larger ships includes the 1,104-foot-long MSC ASYA, which set anchor this morning at Wando Welch Terminal in Mount Pleasant.

The ASYA is among the “Post-Panamax” class of vessels that shippers are shifting to for cost savings.

Reach Tyrone Richardson at 843-937-5550 and follow him on Twitter @tyrichardsonPC.