Just in time for the peak holiday shopping season, one of the Southeast’s top retailers is bringing a boost to business at the Port of Charleston.
Belk, Inc., which operates more than 300 department stores across the Southeast, has begun importing more than 1,000 shipping containers annually through Charleston, boosting the local impact for dock workers, transportation providers and warehouse workers.
“The Port of Charleston’s access to our distribution network and its reputation as one of the premier ports in the nation enhances our ability to serve our customers,” said Diane Hartjes, director of private brand operations for Charlotte-based Belk, Inc.
Moving the freight through Charleston versus other ports offers a cost savings on transportation while reducing cycle time, Hartjes said.
“Belk has a great reputation within the retail industry, with quality stores and service and a loyal customer base,” said Paul McClintock, senior vice president and chief commercial officer for the South Carolina State Ports Authority. “Belk’s vote of confidence in the Port of Charleston demonstrates our port’s strong ocean carrier presence and focus on the retail industry and distribution center development.”
Beginning this week, Performance Team, a leading supply chain logistics and delivery company with nine hub cities nationwide, expands its local operation to transload import containers of apparel, accessories, housewares and footwear bound for Belk’s distribution centers in Blythewood, S.C. and Jackson, Miss.
Mac Forehand, director of Southeast sales at Performance Team, says that the Port of Charleston’s deep water capability is a major advantage in bringing in new business in the years leading to the Panama Canal improvements.
“There is a huge advantage in Charleston with the expansion of the Panama Canal,” Forehand said. “Charleston has the deepest water in the Southeast region, and this is a growing market for retail business. We see a great future in Charleston or we wouldn’t be here.”
Locally, Performance Team is based in Goose Creek and operates out of a 200,000-square-foot space leased from Quiozel Lighting, another port customer. After starting locally with only nine employees, Performance Team’s local staff now includes 75 employees.
Performance Team has been a domestic consolidator for Belk for more than 10 years and has extensive experience in the retail sector, including store sorting and delivery services for Gap, Old Navy, Anna’s Linens, Gerber Childrenswear and others.
Belk operates five stores in the Charleston area, including at Citadel Mall, Northwoods Mall, Mt. Pleasant, Summerville and Walterboro.
Charlotte, N.C.-based Belk, Inc. is the largest privately owned mainline department store company in the United States with more than 300 stores in 16 southern states. The company was founded in 1888 by William Henry Belk in Monroe, N.C., and is in the third generation of Belk family leadership. Customers can now enjoy a greatly expanded merchandise assortment, a bold new design and lots of exciting features on Belk.com to make online shopping at Belk easy and enjoyable.
About Performance Team
With over 30 years experience, Performance Team has established itself as a national leader in custom end-to-end logistics solutions for the retail and manufacturing industries. No matter what size your business or what unique challenges you face, Performance Team’s proven national infrastructure is here to work with you to streamline your supply chain, affect your bottom line and get your products where they belong – in your customer’s hands.
About the South Carolina State Ports Authority
The South Carolina State Ports Authority, established by the state’s General Assembly in 1942, owns and operates public seaport facilities in Charleston and Georgetown, handling international commerce valued at more than $62 billion annually while receiving no direct taxpayer subsidy. An economic development engine for the state, port operations facilitate 260,800 jobs across South Carolina and nearly $45 billion in economic activity each year. For more information, visit www.scspa.com.