By Barney Blakeney
S.C. Ports Authority (SCPA) recently was named as one of the Best Places to Work in South Carolina. Charleston’s port is the ninth largest. The maritime industry in South Carolina generates some $60 billion and accounts for one in 11 jobs in the state, said Maritime Association of South Carolina President Heather Holmquest.
According to South Carolina Ports Authority Corporate Communications Manager Liz Crumley the SCPA has 695 employees – 174 are African American, with an additional 34 employees being non-white. Of the 23 executive positions at SCPA, two are held by African Americans. All earn in excess of $100,000 annually. She added, half of SCPA’s senior executive management team is female; of its 695 employees 59 employees earn salaries exceeding $100,000, of those 12 are females. “Our container operator, crane operator, supervisors and maintenance positions — although hourly — also have the capability of exceeding $100,000 in annual pay with overtime and our higher pay rates. Of the above-mentioned positions, we have a total of 370 employees, of which 15 are non-white and 97 are African American,” she said.
In a recent interview aired on SCETV, Holmquest outlined some interesting opportunities for employment. The maritime industry is the largest economic driver generating some $60 billion and port-supported jobs pay nearly 40 percent higher than the state’s average annual wage. Surprisingly, most of that economic impact is felt beyond the Charleston region.
A 2015 University of South Carolina study concluded the Upstate Region sees $53 billion in annual economic activity, 187,600 jobs, $10.2 billion in labor income, 10 percent of total annual gross state product and $912 million in tax revenue. The Midlands Region sees a $26.8 billion economic impact, 94,500 total jobs, $5.2 billion in labor. According to the study the Pee Dee Region generates a $13.6 billion economic impact, 48,000 jobs and $2.6 billion in labor income. Surprisingly, the Lowcountry Region follows the others with a $6.3 billion economic impact, 22,400 jobs and $1.2 billion in labor income.
Optimistically, the maritime association notes with the rate at which our state’s economic development is advancing, there is a critical need for positions that support the supply chain – skilled labor and drivers are among those most critically needed.
Careers in these industries can and often do come with flexible hours and limited travel in many cases. Prior education or training is not always necessary. Employers offer training opportunities, sign-on bonuses and ongoing career development, it notes.
To find out more call S.C. Maritime Association at (843) 577-7678; email at [email protected]; or visit 4500 Leeds Ave., Suite 207, North Charleston.