Record growth in container shipments has led the S.C. State Ports Authority’s board of directors to approve a $69.5 million contract to purchase six new ship-to-shore cranes.
“As the largest crane purchase in our history, the contract is an important part of our overall investment in infrastructure and capacity to ensure the Port is well-positioned for the future,” ports President and CEO Jim Newsome said in a news release. “When the cranes arrive in late 2019, deepening of the Charleston Harbor to 52 feet will be nearly two-thirds complete and construction of our new container terminal will also be nearly finished.”
Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Ltd., known by the acronym ZPMC, will manufacture the six cranes. The Hugh K. Leatherman Sr. Terminal, currently under construction in North Charleston, will receive five cranes with 169 feet of lift height. Phase One of the project is scheduled to open in mid-2020.
One 155-foot crane will be given to the Wando Welch Terminal, giving it three total after two were delivered in November 2016. In addition, ZPMC is scheduled to deliver two more cranes in February.
“The six STS cranes are the single largest order from SCPA, and we are as excited as we are proud,” ZPMC President Huang Qing-feng said. “This is a continued, long-term journey with great cooperation between SCPA and ZPMC, and we are committed to achieving a successful project.”
In September, the port handled 179,856 20-foot equivalent units, a 10% growth from the previous month. Inland Port Greer handled 10,648 rail moves last month, a 16% increase over the same period last year.