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  May 17th, 2017 | Written by

SC Ports Welcomes Biggest Ship Ever to Call East Coast

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  • The COSCO Development arrived in the Charleston harbor.
  • Charleston harbor is the deepest in Southeast region and soon to be the deepest on the East Coast.
  • Eighteen of SCPA's weekly container vessel services are with ships too large to transit the original Panama Canal.

On the heels of record-breaking container volumes in March and April, the South Carolina Ports Authority celebrated another milestone with the arrival of the biggest container ship ever to call the US East Coast.

SCPA is expected to move approximately 3,300 containers on and off the COSCO Development, setting a new record for crane moves handled by the port.

“The deployment of 13,000-TEU vessels to East Coast ports marks a new era in the global container shipping industry,” said SCPA president and CEO Jim Newsome. “The importance of our port and state’s investments in terminal and infrastructure improvements, additional capacity for volume growth and a deeper harbor are evident with the arrival of the COSCO Development. It is a truly exciting day to see our new super postpanamax cranes working a ship of this size, and we are proud to be the last Southeast port of call.”

“Our ports are one of the most integral pieces to South Carolina’s economic engine that continues to grow every day, and the COSCO Development’s arrival at the Port of Charleston is a symbol of our state’s competitiveness in the global marketplace,” said South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster. “We will continue to work with everything we have to make sure our harbor is deepened to 52 feet to further allow big ships to call Charleston, which will take our state to a level of prosperity we have never seen.”

The COSCO Development, a 1,200 feet long and 158 feet wide vessel transporting up to 13,092 TEUs, is deployed on the weekly OCEAN Alliance South Atlantic Express (SAX) service connecting Charleston with Hong Kong, Yantian, Ningbo and Shanghai via the Panama Canal. Today 18 of SCPA’s 24 weekly container vessel services are comprised of ships too large to transit the Panama Canal prior to its expansion.

Supporting the Port’s ability to handle 13,000-14,000 TEU vessels are the Charleston Harbor Deepening project to 52 feet, scheduled to begin this fall; the completion of a wharf strengthening project at the Wando Welch Terminal in conjunction with investments in bigger cranes; and the construction of the Hugh K. Leatherman, Sr. Terminal.