SC Ports expands North Charleston Terminal‘s capacity


SC Ports commits to acquire land to bolster North Charleston Terminal‘s capacity as it readies for bigger ships.

SC Ports expands North Charleston Terminal‘s capacity
Port of Charleston

South Carolina Ports (SC Ports) has decided to purchase an industrial waterfront property in North Charleston to bolster cargo handling capacity at the Port of Charleston.

The decision was announced after SC Ports Board of Directors unanimously voted to invest in the former WestRock paper mill site, which will offer a natural extension to the container terminal.

SC Ports said the 280-acre land would expand the terminal’s capacity to handle 5 million containers. The land acquisition would also create 5,000 feet (1,500 meters) of linear berth space for container ships and around 400 acres of terminal space for cargo, enabling SC Ports to handle more cargo for port-dependent businesses.

“The tremendous backing from our state and an excellent partnership with WestRock allows us to make investments today that will support our state’s economy and create opportunities for future generations of South Carolinians,” SC Ports President and CEO Barbara Melvin said.

“We are adding significant port capacity to support growth in South Carolina and throughout the Southeast.”

SC Ports plans to modernize the existing North Charleston Terminal with an optimized layout, upgraded cargo-handling equipment, and new container capacity. The port authority added that on-terminal rail service would be offered by Palmetto Railways with dual connectivity to CSX and Norfolk Southern, and proximity to Interstate 526.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation has a strong role in the project as well. As part of its expansion of Interstate 526, SCDOT plans to replace the Don Holt Bridge, which will remove height constraints for larger vessels.

Plans are also moving forward to achieve a 52-foot (15.8 meters) depth up to the North Charleston Terminal. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District, has requested a feasibility study — a critical first step toward deepening this stretch of the Cooper River for an additional five feet.

SC Ports believes that the deepening effort combined with the new bridge height will allow the biggest container ships calling the Port of Charleston to seamlessly access the North Charleston Terminal.

“Modernizing the terminal, raising the Don Holt Bridge, deepening the Cooper River and purchasing the former WestRock property are all critical components that will yield a state-of-the-art North Charleston Terminal,” Melvin said.

“These achievements would not be possible without the support and foresight from Governor Henry McMaster, SC House Speaker Murrell Smith, SC Senate President Thomas Alexander and the entire SC Legislature.”

The site also provides key support functions for Ingevity Corporation’s North Charleston manufacturing facility.

“This land purchase represents a tremendous opportunity to position our port system and our state competitively for decades to come,” SC Ports Board Chairman Bill Stern said.

“WestRock and its predecessor companies had a long history operating the North Charleston mill, and we greatly appreciate the contributions made by our team members over the years. We are pleased that SC Ports intends to transform the site into a world-class container terminal and continue to support the state’s economy and create jobs for South Carolinians,” WestRock President and CEO David Sewell, said.

“SC Ports’ acquisition of the WestRock mill site and investment in the North Charleston Terminal and supporting infrastructure will add more fluidity and capacity to our regional supply chain as we handle more cargo by rail at the terminal and throughout the state,” Palmetto Railways President and CEO Patrick McCrory added.

You just read one of our articles for free

To continue reading, subscribe to WorldCargo News

By subscribing you will have:

  • Access to all regular and exclusive content
  • Discount on selected events
  • Full access to the entire digital archive
  • 10x per year Digital Magazine

SUBSCRIBE or, if you are already a member Log In


Having problems logging in? Call +31(0)10 280 1000 or send an email to