"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 Harbour to 52 feet will be nearly two-thirds complete and construction of our new container terminal will also be nearly finished."
Charleston currently enjoys a depth advantage over Savannah, which lines capitalise on by calling at Charleston after Savannah to load heavy export cargo. Five of the ZPMC cranes will have a lift height of 169 feet of lift height and will be delivered to the new Hugh K. Leatherman, Sr. Terminal, which the port authority points out is “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).
The sixth crane will be a lightly smaller unit (155-foot lift height) and be delivered to the Wando Welch Terminal, currently 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,” the port added.
"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."
Also this week the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded a dredging contract for US$213M to Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company, LLC for the removal of approximately 7.95 million cubic yards of material from the Entrance Channel. “This second contract, when combined with the first contract, awarded on September 7, 2017, will achieve the newly authorized depth of 54 feet throughout the more than 20 mile long Charleston Harbor Entrance Channel. The dredged material will primarily be placed in the Ocean Dredged Material Disposal Site offshore,” the USACE said in a statement.
Newsome said the award is “tremendous news for South Carolina. This multi-year contract, in conjunction with the contract awarded in September, provides for the construction work for the entrance channel to be completed without the potential for delays and is the largest contract ever to be awarded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Charleston District”.