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SC Ports welcomes 7 new cranes as Leatherman Terminal nears opening

Photo: SCPA/Walter Lagarenne

Posted on November 4, 2020

South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) received three new ship-to-shore (STS) cranes and four hybrid rubber-tired gantry cranes on 3 November at the Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal in North Charleston.

The arrival of new cargo-handling equipment on the site is said to be a huge milestone for SC Ports’ Leatherman Terminal, which is on schedule to open in March.

Image Courtesy: SCPA/English Purcell

With the latest delivery, all five ship-to-shore cranes have arrived at the Leatherman Terminal. The new ship-to-shore cranes have 169 feet of lift height above the wharf deck and an outreach of 228 feet, enabling them to work the biggest container ships calling on the East Coast.

The first four hybrid rubber-tired gantry cranes for the Leatherman Terminal also arrived on Tuesday. The new RTG cranes are the largest in SC Ports’ fleet, measuring 88 feet tire-to-tire and able to handle containers stacked six high.

“The arrival of cargo-handling equipment at the Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal is a big moment for SC Ports,” Barbara Melvin, SC Ports COO, said.

“These … ship-to-shore-cranes will work some of the largest container ships on the East Coast when we launch operations at the Leatherman Terminal in March, while our hybrid rubber-tired gantry cranes will also ensure efficient operations…”

The cranes were fabricated by Shanghai-based crane manufacturer ZPMC and then disassembled for the journey to Charleston.

The first two ship-to-shore cranes arrived on the heavy lift vessel Zhen Hua 36 last week. They have since been offloaded from the vessel onto the Leatherman Terminal wharf.

The three additional ship-to-shore cranes and four rubber-tired gantry cranes arrived in Charleston Sunday morning on the Zhen Hua 24.

The vessel docked at Columbus Street Terminal for two days so the cranes could be reconfigured to fit under the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge before traveling up the Cooper River early this morning to the Leatherman Terminal.

Once the cranes are offloaded onto the Leatherman Terminal, the ZPMC USA team will erect, commission and test the cranes over several months before they become operational.

Image Courtesy: SCPA/Walter Lagarenne

The cranes will then stand on the new 1,400-foot wharf, ready to load and unload cargo boxes from containerships when Phase One of the Leatherman Terminal opens in March.

“The Leatherman Terminal is designed to handle 19,000-TEU vessels, which sets South Carolina up to handle more cargo and remain globally competitive,” Jim Newsome, SC Ports President and CEO, said.

“We have invested more than $2 billion in our infrastructure to ensure we have ample capacity and big-ship capabilities to serve our customers for decades to come. The opening of the Leatherman Terminal is a crucial part of our infrastructure investments.”

Phase One of the Leatherman Terminal will have a 1,400-foot wharf, five ship-to-shore cranes, a 47-acre container yard, and 25 hybrid rubber-tired gantry cranes.

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

The $1 billion Phase One of the Leatherman Terminal complements efforts to modernize Wando Welch Terminal and deepen Charleston Harbor to 52 feet. These investments will enable SC Ports to handle four 14,000-TEU vessels simultaneously in 2021.


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