SC Ports on track for 2021 opening

Construction at South Carolina Ports (SC Ports) Hugh K. Leatherman Container Terminal is on track for its scheduled opening in 2021. The opening of the container terminal will be a major accomplishment for SC Ports and the Southeast logistics network.

The Leatherman Terminal complements efforts to modernise Wando Welch Terminal and deepen the depth of the Charleston Harbour to 52 feet, enabling SC Ports to handle four 14,000 TEU vessels simultaneously, once the proposed developmental works are completed in 2021.


Phase One of the terminal will add 700,000 TEUs of annual throughput capacity to the Port of Charleston. At full build-out, the three-berth terminal will double S.C. Ports current capacity by adding 2.4 million TEUs of throughput capacity.


“We look forward to opening the first phase of the Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal, which will be the country’s first container terminal in more than a decade,” SC Ports President and chief executive officer Jim Newsome said. “The Leatherman Terminal will enable S.C. Ports to handle more cargo and bigger ships. Businesses depend on us to efficiently move their cargo, and this flow of goods creates more jobs and investment in South Carolina.”


The site development and construction of such a massive project requires many project partners. SC Ports’ engineering team works on the 286-acre site every day with many contractors, including HDR Inc., Banks Construction Co., Samet Corp., Cape Romain/McLean A Joint Venture and Cape Romain Contractors Inc.


Barbara Melvin, chief executive officer, SC Ports, said:“Our engineering team and project partners have done an absolutely amazing job overseeing this very complex construction project,” 


Several key milestones in the construction of the terminal were reached this summer, amongst which was the finishing of the final concrete pour for the wharf deck in July, a critical step in preparing the 1,400-foot wharf.


Five ship-to-shore cranes with 169 feet of lift height above the wharf deck are currently being fabricated by ZPMC in Shanghai, China. The first two cranes are set to arrive in September, with the remaining three arriving in October.


Twenty-five hybrid rubber-tired gantry cranes are also set to arrive later this year, with the concrete runway beams for these cranes are currently under construction.


Foundations have been installed and steel erection work has started for the six-story tall refrigerated container racks, which will increase refrigerated and frozen goods handling capacity.


Vertical construction is nearly 70% complete as many on-site buildings are taking shape, including the terminal operations building, vessel operations building, maintenance building, and the various booths and canopies designed for truck drivers and tenants. Dominion Energy is also stringing power lines via helicopter to connect power to the terminal’s private substation.

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