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SC Ports announces leadership change

Following a successful 13 years as president and CEO of South Carolina Ports, Jim Newsome announced his plans today to retire from the helm on June 30, at which time he will serve as an executive advisor to the port.

SC Ports COO Barbara Melvin will become president and CEO of South Carolina Ports on July 1. Melvin will be the sixth leader in the history of the port and the first woman to lead a top 10 U.S. operating container port.

SC Ports Board of Directors unanimously approved the leadership change today during its October board meeting.

“Jim Newsome has truly made a significant and lasting impact on South Carolina’s economy and supply chain. He led a major turnaround effort of SC Ports when he joined in 2009, assuring SC Ports continues to flourish as a top 10 U.S. container port. Under his great leadership, we have seen significant growth at the port and at port-dependent businesses around the state,” SC Ports Board Chairman Bill Stern said. “Barbara Melvin, who leads SC Ports’ operations team and has served at SC Ports for 24 years, will undoubtedly continue to build on the great success and growth at the port. It is not often that two impressive leaders work so well together over many years to achieve a shared vision.”

Newsome has served at the helm of South Carolina Ports since 2009. During his tenure,

Newsome has significantly enhanced port operations, grown the port’s cargo base with strategic investments, led the doubling of cargo volumes in a decade, and successfully undertaken vital infrastructure projects. His efforts have ensured a fluid supply chain and created jobs throughout the state.

“It has been my great honor to serve as CEO of South Carolina Ports. We have worked together to cultivate a highly competitive, world-class port that continues to grow above the market,” Newsome said. “This past year has been one of my proudest as we have achieved major successes, including Walmart investing in a near-port import distribution center, our handling of record-breaking volumes during a global pandemic, and the opening of Leatherman Terminal, the first container terminal to open in the U.S. since 2009.”

Melvin joined SC Ports in 1998, serving in a variety of roles over the years. Melvin became senior vice president of operations and terminals in 2015 and assumed the role as chief operating officer in 2018. As COO, Melvin oversees the daily operations of the port and leads major infrastructure projects, such as the Charleston Harbor Deepening Project.

About South Carolina Ports Authority South Carolina Ports Authority, established by the state’s General Assembly in 1942, owns and operates public seaport and intermodal facilities in Charleston, Dillon, Georgetown and Greer. As an economic development engine for the state, Port operations facilitate 225,000 statewide jobs and generate nearly $63.4 billion in annual economic activity. SC Ports is soon to be home to the deepest harbor on the U.S. East Coast at 52 feet. SC Ports is an industry leader in delivering speed-to-market, seamless processes and flexibility to ensure reliable operations, big ship handling, efficient market reach and environmental responsibility. Please visit to learn more about SC Ports.


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