The South Carolina State Ports Authority (SCSPA) Board today adopted the first major update to the organization’s strategic plan in several years. The plan highlights Charleston’s tremendous harbor depth advantage, refines the agency’s mission and points to several areas of focus in the coming years.
“Through this eight-month process, we have established the vision and direction for South Carolina’s ports,” said David J. Posek, chairman of the SCSPA. “Now, we’re going to pursue it aggressively.”
The objective of the strategic planning process that began in February was to set a clear direction and strategic priorities for addressing the Ports Authority’s market and competitive challenges and opportunities.
The plan was also developed with the input of customers, stakeholders, the maritime community and elected officials through interviews with the planning team. In addition to refining the SCSPA’s mission statement, detailed assessments of the competitive, industry, market, economic and financial situation were also conducted.
“It’s obvious that Charleston’s greatest competitive advantages are vessel access, along with a broad base of customers, efficient terminals and financial stability,” said Jim Newsome, SCSPA president & CEO. “Charleston has the deepest channels on the South Atlantic,” said Newsome. “Charleston can handle 90% of the world’s existing and on-order container ships up to 9,000 TEUs. Even before the Panama Canal expansion is completed in 2014, I believe this port will see post-Panamax ships with more regularity and frequency. This is a competitive advantage for our customers.”
The strategic planning process identified a number of issues that fundamentally affect the SCSPA’s ability to fulfill its mission. These strategic issues fell in four categories:
•Market Development – taking advantage of current and emerging market opportunities
•Infrastructure – developing the optimal infrastructure plan for growing business
•Stakeholder Relations – building productive relationships and consistent communications
•Financial Sustainability – sustaining financial self-sufficiency
The plan includes specific actions that will be developed and implemented by both SCSPA staff and external stakeholders to address each focus area. Examples include building breakbulk business in Charleston and Georgetown, partnerships with stakeholders on new business, completing phase I of the new Navy Base Terminal, implementing a post-45’ deepening project in Charleston, enhancing communications with stakeholders and advancing a new terminal in Jasper County.
“Working collaboratively, we will successfully put this plan into action, regain business, build market share and fulfill our mission,” said Newsome. “We have a very dedicated staff of talented employees who are prepared to make this a reality.”
The South Carolina State Ports Authority (SCSPA) promotes, develops and facilitates waterborne commerce to meet the current and future needs of its customers, and for the economic benefit of the citizens and businesses of South Carolina. The SCSPA fulfills this mission by delivering cost competitive facilities and services, collaborating with customers and stakeholders, and sustaining its financial self-sufficiency.
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 and 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.