Barbara Melvin

South Carolina Ports Authority

Chief Operating Officer

Barbara Melvin is the chief operating officer of the South Carolina Ports Authority. As COO, Melvin oversees terminal operations, carrier sales, information technology and support services, crane and equipment maintenance, engineering, environmental, Port Police, procurement, the logistics solution center, and cruise operations. She also serves as the SCPA’s lead staff person on the Charleston Harbor Post 45 Project. During her 20-plus years with SCPA, Melvin has held several senior leadership positions, including senior vice president of operations and terminals; senior vice president of external affairs; and vice president of government relations. Before joining the port in 1998, she served as director of government relations for the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce and as a policy analyst for the Georgia Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget.

Melvin is a Riley Institute Diversity Leadership graduate, a member of the South Carolina Advisory Council of the United States Global Leadership Coalition, the Ports Caucus Advisory Board for the United States Congress, the Citadel Baker School of Business Advisory Board, board chair of the American Heart Association Charleston Board (2020-2021), a member of the Trident United Way Board of Directors, a Liberty Fellow, a member of the Board of Trustees for the South Carolina Governor’s School of Science and Math, and a board member of the Intermodal Association of North America. She is also involved in numerous community and public service volunteer organizations. Melvin has been honored with awards from multiple high-profile associations within the trade and transportation industry. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Georgia Southern University with a minor in international relations and an MBA in global supply chain from the University of Tennessee Haslam School of Business. 

Sessions With Barbara Melvin

Tuesday, 1 March

  • 04:00pm - 04:45pm (EST) / 02/mar/2022 12:00 am - 02/mar/2022 12:45 am

    Ports and Port Efficiency

    When Will There Be Enough Chassis for Everyone?

    In 2021, the Commerce Department, acting to protect US chassis manufacturers, imposed antidumping and countervailing duties totaling more than 200 percent on chassis made in China, where most chassis were produced. By July, the dominant Chinese producer, CIMC, all but ceased production of finished chassis for US customers. As a result, chassis lessors believe the US marine chassis fleet will grow by only 7,000–10,000 units in 2021, or less than 2 percent of the fleet. This sobering situation comes as containerized imports are soaring, up 21 percent from Asia in the first eight months of 2021. “The US manufacturers have clearly not delivered the capacity they said they had,” said James Newsome, CEO of the South Carolina Ports Authority. “We have advocated for the removal of these countervailing duties for two years (2022-2023) so that those wanting to buy new chassis can do so.” Added Ron Widdows, CEO of FlexiVan Leasing: “The single most significant source of chassis manufacturing was in China, and the actions taken by the US government to protect a US manufacturing sector that was not in a position to meet the demand were not very well-conceived.” In a letter to the Biden administration, US manufacturers argue that they have made considerable progress in ramping up production: “Since the imposition of the orders, America’s chassis manufacturers have hired hundreds of new workers, with plans to hire hundreds more, invested millions of dollars to increase production and capacity, and increased production and capacity by over 400 percent with additional planned expansions.” Pratt Industries, for example, made less than 500 marine chassis in 2020 but produced nearly 4,000 in 2021, an eightfold increase. But even US manufacturers acknowledge sourcing chassis subcomponents is going slower than expected. So, when will manufacturers be able to fulfill enough chassis orders to address the equipment shortage? Is there any possibility the government will withdraw the countervailing duties?