New Cranes Boost South Carolina's Big-Ship Readiness
The delivery of two super post-Panamax cranes at South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) on Friday marked a significant milestone in the port’s big ship readiness, to be followed in the coming years by the completion of the Wando Welch wharf project and harbor deepening to 52 feet.
The cranes, produced by Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industry (ZPMC) in China, provide 155 feet of lift height from the dock to enable SCPA to work larger container cargo ships. The cranes will be located at the Wando Welch Terminal, which is undergoing a $44 million project to strengthen and upgrade the wharf and infrastructure required for handling bigger vessels and cranes.
Last month the SCPA Board of Directors approved the purchase of two additional cranes of this size for delivery at the end of 2017, coinciding with the completion of the wharf project.
“The delivery of the new cranes is a milestone for our Port,” said Jim Newsome, SCPA president and CEO. “They are integral to our future and represent a big step forward in our strategy to remain competitive in today’s big-ship environment. Along with the Wando wharf strengthening project, the cranes will allow us to handle the upsizing of ships following the opening of the Panama Canal expansion in order to continue to meet the needs of our customers and enhance the crane productivity we are known for in the U.S. port industry.”
SCPA is already seeing the upsizing of vessels in response to the Panama Canal expansion, and expects to handle its first 14,000 TEU vessel call later this year. Charleston offers the deepest harbor in the Southeast, and upon completion of its deepening project to 52 feet, Charleston will be the deepest harbor on the East Coast.
Beyond harbor deepening, SCPA has a 10-year, $1.3 billion capital expenditure plan that includes the construction of a new container terminal, the Leatherman Terminal, and the modernization of existing facilities and technology. SCPA’s extensive investments are planned to ensure the port will be competitive in the future, continuing to provide $53 billion in annual statewide economic impact and securing region’s role in economic development and global trade.