The State Ports Authority's board of directors last week approved a budget for the coming fiscal year starting July 1 that envisions almost $173 million in operating revenue and 975,000 containers coming across its docks.
Here are some of the big-ticket projects and developments affecting the SPA's finances:
CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS: The new budget for fiscal 2014-15 includes more than $38 million to upgrade wharves and to pave existing terminals. It also includes more than $17 million for work on a new shipping terminal being built at the old Navy base in North Charleston. The first phase is expected to open in four years.
INLAND PORT: The SPA board approved spending slightly more than $1 million for scales, light poles, telecommunications and other equipment for the so-called inland port near Greer that opened last year. The improvements will make loading and unloading more efficient at the port that provides a rail link between the Upstate and the Port of Charleston. The work begins next month and should be completed later this year.
TIRE MANUFACTURING: The SPA board agreed to appropriate up to $2.6 million for infrastructure improvements tied to the future Giti Tire plant in Richburg. The company announced last week that it's building its first North American manufacturing plant in Chester County, investing $560 million and creating 1,700 jobs. Singapore-based Giti said the Port of Charleston was a major reason it chose the state of South Carolina.
HARBOR DEEPENING: Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a member of the Senate Appropriations Energy & Water subcommittee, said Wednesday the panel passed an appropriations bill with money for Charleston. The legislation contains almost $700,000 for the ongoing Army Corps of Engineers study of deepening the Charleston Harbor shipping channel, $1.5 million for the deepening work itself and $13 million for ongoing harbor maintenance.
Maritime interests want to deepen the channel from 45 feet to at least 50 feet to handle a new generation of larger containerships.