Two super post-Panamax cranes being installed at the South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) will add to the port’s big ship readiness. That will be followed in the coming years by the completion of the Wando Welch wharf project and harbor deepening to 52 feet.
The cranes 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.
Clint Eisenhauer, Senior Vice President of External Affairs for the port, told South Carolina Radio Network that the cranes will be able to handle more cargo. “There tall enough so they can reach nine containers high on the deck of these new post-Panamax ships that are being delivered,” Eisenhauer said.
SCPA is already seeing the up sizing of vessels in response to the Panama Canal expansion, and expects to handle its first 14,000 twenty foot equivalent unit vessel 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.
The cranes now have to be installed. “Now they’ll begin to start moving them onto the wharf. So it’s a very exciting process, but it does take a little time and it’s a real feat of engineering prowess,” said Eisenhauer.
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 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.