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  November 2nd, 2017 | Written by

SC Ports Board Approves $69.5 Million Crane Purchase

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  • New ship-to-shore cranes will arrive in Charleston Harbor in late 2019.
  • When new cranes arrive, deepening of the Charleston Harbor to 52 feet will be two-thirds complete.
  • Construction of new Charleston container terminal will be nearly finished by the time new cranes arrive.

The South Carolina Ports Authority Board of Directors has approved a $69.5 million contract for the purchase of six new ship-to-shore (STS) cranes to serve growing container volumes and big ships calling the Port of Charleston.

“As the largest crane purchase in our history, the contract approved today is an important part of our overall investment in infrastructure and capacity to ensure the port is well-positioned for the future,” said Jim Newsome, SCPA president and CEO. “When the cranes arrive in late 2019, deepening of the Charleston Harbor to 52 feet will be nearly two-thirds complete and construction of our new container terminal will also be nearly finished.”

The cranes will be manufactured by Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries, LTD (ZPMC). Five cranes offering 169 feet of lift height will be delivered to the Hugh K. Leatherman, Sr. Terminal, the only permitted container terminal under construction on the U.S. East or Gulf coasts. Phase One of the terminal is scheduled to open in mid-2020 with an annual capacity of 628,000 twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEU).

In addition, one 155-foot crane will be delivered to the Wando Welch Terminal, SCPA’s busiest container terminal. The Wando Terminal received its first two cranes of this size in August 2016, and ZPMC is currently manufacturing two additional cranes for delivery in February 2018. By 2020, 9 of the 13 STS cranes at the Wando Terminal will offer 155 feet of lift height to support SCPA’s efficient handling of two 14,000 TEU vessels simultaneously.

“ZPMC is honored to supply this project for South Carolina Ports Authority,” said ZPMC President Huang Qing-feng. “The six STS cranes are the single largest order from SCPA, and we are as excited as we are proud. This is a continued, long-term journey with great cooperation between SCPA and ZPMC, and we are committed to achieving a successful project. We appreciate the relationship we’ve built with SCPA and congratulate them on the Port’s growth and continued prosperity.”

As previously announced, SCPA achieved 10 percent container growth in what was a record September, handling 179,856 TEUs during the month. From July through September, the first quarter of the SCPA’s 2018 fiscal year, the Port handled 539,995 TEUs, a nearly 4 percent year-over-year increase.

SCPA handled 65,269 tons of breakbulk cargo across its docks in Charleston in September and 153,304 tons fiscal year to date.

Inland Port Greer handled 10,648 rail moves in last month for a fiscal year-to-date total of 30,401 moves, a 16 percent increase over the same period last year.