In 2003 the Port of Charleston, S.C. was the world’s 42nd largest – and the fifth largest in the nation. Today? Charleston has surrendered its coveted spot on the world’s top fifty ports list to its closet rival, the Port of Savannah.

Don’t believe us? Take a look at the data for yourself …

Savannah is now the world’s 42nd largest port, according to the number of TEUs (or twenty-foot equivalent units) it handles on an annual basis. Charleston? It’s not even on the list anymore.

Who does South Carolina have to thank for this? Astoundingly, it’s our own governor …

After promising to do a better job competing against Georgia, S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley instead hand-delivered a major competitive advantage to its government-run port in 2011. This infamous “Savannah River Sellout” not only paved the way to Georgia’s taxpayer-funded port expansion plans, it killed off any chance of building a public-private port facility in Jasper County, S.C. – home to the last remaining deepwater port location on the Eastern Seaboard.

In other words rather than letting the private sector create jobs in her own state, Haley obligated her state’s taxpayers to subsidize a government-run port expansion in a competing state.

Wow …

In exchange for this flagrant betrayal of our state’s economic interests, Haley received financial support from Georgia donors as well as a prime time speaking slot at the 2012 Republican National Convention.

Amazing, isn’t it?

Anyway, Haley’s sellout was unanimously rebuked by the S.C. General Assembly – and overturned by the S.C. Supreme Court – but the damage was done.