Friday, March 5, 2010

Hilliard, Gilmore file in Santee mayoral race Seabrooks not seeking re-election

By MARTHA ROSE BROWN, T&D Correspondent Friday, March 05, 2010

Mayor Silas Seabrooks, who says he’s served the town as mayor for a total of 22 years, declined to comment about his decision not to run for another four-year term. He said he would comment about the upcoming election and his reflections on his service to the town at a later time.

Two candidates have entered the mayoral contest: Santee Town Councilman John Mark Gilmore and Donnie L. Hilliard, former Santee town administrator and Orangeburg County administrator.

Also up for grabs are two seats on Santee Town Council.

Incumbents Cleveland Gilmore and Shirley Upton are seeking re-election, and challengers Roosevelt Hezekiah and Gregory S. King are also vying for a seat on council.

Terms for both the mayor’s job and the council seats are four years.

Santee Town Clerk Rebecca Wright said no write-in candidates filed. Filing for candidates ended Feb. 12.

When Santee voters head to the polls next month, they will have the option of choosing a mayor and two of the four candidates to serve as council members.

According to the Orangeburg County Office of Voter Registration and Elections Commission, Santee residents not yet registered to vote in the April 13 election must register by March 13.

The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 13, at the Santee Family Development Center at 210 Brooks Blvd. near Santee Town Hall.

The Municipal Board of Canvassers will hold a certification hearing to determine the validity of all provisional ballots cast in the municipal election at 11 a.m. on Thursday, April 15, in the Council Chambers at Santee Town Hall.

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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Largest ship to visit Charleston docks at Wando Welch

From the Charleston Business Journal
Staff Report
Published Feb. 25, 2010

Mediterranean Shipping Co.’s Golden Gate service made its first call today on the Port of Charleston, linking the Southeast’s deepest seaport with China, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

The first vessel to arrive in Charleston as part of the service, the MSC Rita, got here overnight and is working today at the Wando Welch Terminal.

The 1,065-foot-long Rita is the largest ship to ever come to Charleston. The only other vessel docked at the port today that came close to Rita’s size was the 850-foot Ville D. Aquarius. The smallest vessel in port on Thursday was the 383-foot Ocean Titan. The MSC Rita can hold 8,034 TEUs (20-foot equivalent unit container).

“Importers and exporters across the U.S. Southeast and Gulf region will benefit from additional connections into China, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and India through Charleston,” said Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the S.C. State Ports Authority.

The GGS port rotation includes Shanghai, Ningbo, Chiwan and Yantian, China; Singapore; Salalah, Oman; Suez Canal transit; New York; Baltimore; Norfolk; Charleston; Freeport, Bahamas; Suez Canal transit; Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; Colombo, Sri Lanka; Singapore; Chiwan; and Hong Kong.

Additional connecting services offer links to ports in India, the Red Sea and the Middle East. The Golden Gate service also provides a 21-day transit time outbound from Charleston to Jeddah.

Charleston has the deepest water south of Norfolk on the U.S. East Coast, with a 45-foot deep shipping channel at mean low water, which is the average depth of the shipping channel at low tide. A five- to six-foot tidal lift allows ships with up to 48 feet of draft to transit the harbor.

The Rita has a maximum draft of 47.5 feet.

MSC already sends five ships a week to Charleston serving the western Mediterranean, South American, Caribbean, African and European trades.

In 2009, MSC and the SCSPA signed a new five-year extension to the carrier’s contract, lengthening its commitment in Charleston to 2017.

C of C president keeps up talk of port issues

From the Post and Courier

College of Charleston President George Benson in 2008 raised more than a few eyebrows when, at a Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce economic outlook conference, he chastised his new home city for not taking better care of its maritime industry.

"There apparently is insufficient support for port growth, even within the region's business community," he said. "That's a problem."

Photo by Grace Beahm

College of Charleston President George Benson, who cut his teeth in academics as a research economist, said he thinks the local port has a bright future but remains largely underappreciated.
When Benson spoke at a Propeller Club of Charleston luncheon last week, he echoed those sentiments, with a little added context.

"Seaports are almost the most invisible sector of our economy," he said. He characterized South Carolina's port assets "underappreciated."

Benson, who previously served as dean of the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia, offered a few reasons while a rival port in Savannah caught up with and then surpassed Charleston: Georgia has a strong governor system instead of the fractured power structure operating in South Carolina; lawmakers in Atlanta are farther removed from the people of Savannah, who are most significantly impacted by port-related decisions; and Charleston's larger population means more people scrutinize port decisions here.

Benson credited new S.C. State Ports Authority Chief Executive Jim Newsome with a future that "looks bright" for the agency. He also expressed his support of growing the cruise industry, noting, "The bigger the ship, the more cash and credit cards it carries onboard."