Wando Welch Terminal

The Port of Charleston handled a record 1.36 million cargo containers in fiscal 2019, which ended June 30. That represents a 9.1% increase over the prior year. Provided/State Ports Authority

The State Ports Authority finished its fiscal year a little better than expected, with an official count of 1.36 million cargo containers of all sizes moving through the Port of Charleston's terminals, the agency said Tuesday.

That exceeds the authority's initial end-of-the-year projections, presented to board members in late June, by about 6,000 boxes.

The total, which represents the 12 months ending June 30, is a full-year record and is 9.1% higher than the number of containers recorded during the previous fiscal year.

"The Southeast remains the best place to be in the port business, with a growing population to support imports and a strong manufacturing and automotive presence to boost exports," said Jim Newsome, the authority's president and CEO. "While we expect more modest growth in fiscal 2020, we are optimistic about the future and continue to invest in our infrastructure."

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The authority will spend $400 million in the coming year on improvements at its existing terminals and construction of the new Leatherman Terminal in North Charleston. That's a 68% increase over the then-record $238.5 million spend in the past 12 months.

The authority's inland port in Greer had its busiest fiscal year with 143,204 containers moved between trucks and trains — up nearly 22% from the previous year.

The inland port in Dillon handled 29,580 cargo containers in its first full fiscal year of operations.

Reach David Wren at 843-937-5550 or on Twitter at @David_Wren_