Charleston: The East Coast’s E-Commerce Distribution Hub?

Harbor with cargo ship under expansive bridge.

Charleston Port to Become the Deepest on the East Coast

By mid-2022, the Charleston port will become the deepest port on the East Coast. Once completed, the 11-year, $2 billion project will increase the port’s depth from its current 45 feet to 52 feet.

Post-Panamax vessels will add Charleston as a port of call at the new depth, opening significant trade opportunities for the location and surrounding areas. The South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) is leveraging this project and the exponential increase in capacity to attract major retailers and notable e-commerce players to the region. Historically, the SCPA has focused on attracting manufacturing, but with “tangible consumption” representing 30-35% of GDP, compared to manufacturing at 11%, the shift is supported, and large corporations are taking notice.

In July, Walmart announced plans to build a three-million-square-foot distribution center near Ridgeville in Dorchester County, 35 miles from the port. The groundbreaking will take place in March 2021. Walmart’s presence alone is estimated to increase the port’s volume by 5%, and as we all know, where Walmart goes, others follow.