The State Ports Authority had two reasons to celebrate when the Journal of Commerce this month unveiled its latest rankings of the nation's most efficient maritime facilities.
The Port of Charleston tied with the Georgia Ports Authority for the third spot on the publication's list of the most ports. The Port of Baltimore took the top spot, followed by the Port of New York and New Jersey.
The SPA's North Charleston Terminal took third place in the most efficient terminals list. APM Terminals at Port Elizabeth, N.J., was the category winner with the Maher Container Terminal at the Port of New York and New Jersey finishing second.
The JOC bases its rankings on a statistic called berth production, which is the number of containers moved during the entire time a ship is tied to a terminal’s dock. While berth production is a key metric for how well a port operates, it can be skewed if a ship sits at the dock for several hours when no loading or unloading is taking place.
Another measure of productivity is the average number of cargo containers loaded or unloaded — called crane moves — during each hour that such work is being performed. That's the metric the SPA uses to evaluate its efficiency.
In November, the SPA recorded 40.2 crane moves per hour at its container terminals - ahead of its goal of 39.8 per hour and the industry standard of roughly 35.