South Carolina is now allowing heavier international intermodal containers on state highways.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation, working with the South Carolina State Ports Authority, announced all international shipping containers with a gross vehicle weight up to 100,000 pounds are eligible for permitting for transporting by truck in South Carolina.

The previous overweight permit allowed up to 90,000 pounds GVW for shipping containers. The new permit allowing the weight increase will improve the state's competitiveness, enhance transportation efficiency and serve a number of key South Carolina industries, according to a statement released by the state DOT.

The decision was based on the results of a pilot program launched earlier in 2010 that allowed refrigerated containers up to 100,000 pounds to be permitted and shipped by truck. The pilot program was undertaken because neighboring states offered a greater permitting capability.

Business sectors benefiting from the new permit include those that export heavy products, such as forestry and agricultural industries. The expansion of the Panama Canal in 2014 will allow even larger cargo ships capable of carrying more than 8,000 containers to move goods from Asia to the Eastern seaboard of the United States. The upgraded container weight policy in South Carolina will put the Port of Charleston in a better position to compete for the significant increase in cargo moving through the Southeast, according to the DOT.