The State Ports Authority has unveiled a new logo.

The new emblem was designed to look like South Carolina's geographic dimensions or a cargo vessel, officials said.

"The design was selected for the modern way it incorporates the shape of our state, a ship and landside infrastructure," said Erin Dhand, SPA spokeswoman. "The new logo also distinguishes us from other ports, since the globe is a commonly used shape in the maritime and other industry logos."

The new logo replaces the long-standing globe that has been used as the SPA's symbol since it was designed in the 1990s by then Advertising Service Agency, a Charleston-based firm that later merged with Chernoff-Newman, Dhand added.

The new emblem was designed by Gil Shuler Graphic Design in Mount Pleasant. The SPA spent $27,500 on the design and implementation of the new mark that will be used on office stationery and marine terminals, Dhand said.

One marketing expert said organizations often change logos to keep a fresh image.

"A logo is very important because it serves to differentiate organizations," said Denise T. Ogden, a marketing professor at Penn State University. "It's important to periodically update a logo because they can become outdated or become representative of old ways of management."

The new logo comes as the SPA is aggressively trying to increase marketshare in the highly competitive Southeastern market.

The maritime agency recently said part of that strategy includes more refrigerated cargo such as poultry and beef flowing through local terminals, going head-to-head with the neighboring Georgia Ports Authority.

The growth of cargo shipments through local terminals is expected to fuel SPA's billion-dollar spending program that includes construction of a new shipping terminal in North Charleston and improvements at existing terminals over the next decade.