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Greenville Business Magazine

Jim Newsome to Retire As President, CEO of South Carolina Ports

Oct 18, 2021 04:03PM ● By David Dykes

Following a successful 13 years as president and CEO of South Carolina Ports, Jim Newsome announced his plans 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 during its board meeting Oct. 18, 2021. 

“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. Their great partnership and visionary leadership sets SC Ports up for continued success.”

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. 

“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. 

"I have always said it is great people who make a great port, and we are fortunate to have the best maritime community and team at SC Ports. It is truly a great sign of success to name a successor within your own team. Barbara Melvin will continue to build on our success, ensuring a very bright future for SC Ports and for South Carolina.”

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.

“I am honored to be chosen to lead SC Ports and continue the positive momentum we have generated together. I am grateful and I am ready,” Melvin said. “With the guidance of our Board, the skill and talent of our team, the solid experience within our maritime community, and the support of elected, business and community leaders, SC Ports will achieve enhanced growth benefitting the state, region and nation. To our customers, we thank you, and please know that with additional opportunity, we will earn prosperity together. 

"I am confident you all will join me in expressing our eternal gratitude to Jim Newsome for a job well done. Jim’s leadership has led us to success, and this inspires us, as we have so much more to accomplish together.”

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.