The increased cargo flowing through Port of Charleston has brought with it $175,000 in bonuses for the S.C. State Ports Authority’s top seven executives and managers.
The biggest amount went to Jim Newsome, president and chief executive officer. The SPA’s board of directors on Tuesday awarded him a $57,998 bonus, which he’s eligible to receive under his compensation agreement.
“It’s somewhat of a mathematical calculation when you trigger the plan, and the plan was triggered by the cash-flow number for this year,” said board member Dave Posek, who’s on the SPA’s personnel committee. “We met our targeted cash flow, and the number was $42.3 million, and we turned in $42.5 million, and that triggered the variable compensation plan.”
Posek said the state maritime agency met 47.5 percent of all financial and production goals set by the board. The equation for bonuses includes performances in cargo volume gains, cruise ship passengers and financial metrics.
“The results are the basis of very aggressive numbers recommended, and that is very good,” said board member Pamela P. Lackey, who is president of AT&T South Carolina.
The SPA ended its last fiscal year with $12.72 million in operating earnings, a gain of $5.45 million from the previous 12 months.
The agency’s Charleston-area operations handled the equivalent of about 1.56 million 20-foot-long containers in its last fiscal year, up 9 percent.
Posek added that the SPA’s top six vice presidents willl share $117,000 in bonuses. They are paid annual salaries of between $170,000 and $245,000.
Newsome’s bonus is in addition to a salary of $370,000, the result of a 5.7 percent increase approved in December. He could have earned a total of $122,100 in extra pay if the agency met all goals set by the board.
The SPA directors have defended the compensation for top executives, saying it’s needed to remain competitive with peer ports, such as the Georgia Ports Authority.
The SPA’s growing cargo trend has continued in the 2014 fiscal year, which began July 1. The agency reported Tuesday that its Charleston facilities handled the equivalent of 144,649 20-foot containers in August, marking the highest monthly volume since October 2008.
The SPA also reported that operating revenue was $25.7 million for the first two months of the fiscal year, up nearly 2 percent from projections and about 10 percent above the time a year ago. Also, Newsome told the board that mid-October is the expected opening for SPA’s rail-served “inland port” in Spartanburg County.
More than 72 days of rain has stalled the development of the 100-acre project, where shipping containers will be transferred between trucks and Norfolk Southern rail cars running to and from the Port of Charleston.
Reach Tyrone Richardson at 843-937-5550 and follow him on Twitter @tyrichardsonPC.