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South Carolina Ports’ Leatherman Terminal receives 15 hybrid cranes

The new terminal will have 25 hybrid RTGs in total

Posted on December 14, 2020

South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) has welcomed 15 hybrid rubber-tyred gantry (RTG) cranes to the Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal, which will begin handling vessels in March at the Port of Charleston.

The 15 hybrid units arrived in North Charleston on the Zhen Hua 15, marking the most RTGs loaded by ZPMC onto one vessel bound for the US.

The cranes join four RTGs that arrived in November, and an additional six RTGs will arrive early next year – making a total of 25 hybrid RTGs that will service the Leatherman Terminal container yard.

SC Ports CEO Jim Newsome said: “It is always an exciting day when new cranes come through Charleston Harbour.

“The Leatherman Terminal’s impressive new equipment will provide reliable service to our customers and environmental benefits to the region.”

The new terminal, which will receive eight empty container handlers in December from Kalmar, recently received five ZPMC ship-to-shore (STS) cranes for its 1,400 ft berth.

The STS cranes have a lift height of 169 ft above the wharf deck and an outreach of 228 ft, enabling them to work the biggest container ships calling the US East Coast.

SC Ports COO Barbara Melvin said: “With each equipment arrival, we take a step closer to realizing the Leatherman Terminal.

“Our SC Ports Engineering Department and numerous project partners perform an unbelievable amount of work and coordination on the site every day to make our March opening possible.”

The RTG cranes were fabricated by ZPMC and then shipped across the Pacific Ocean and through the Panama Canal before making their final leg of the journey to Charleston.

Once the cranes are offloaded onto the Leatherman Terminal, the ZPMC USA team will commission the cranes over the next few months before they are put into service.

The units form part of the port’s environmental efforts, operating on battery power in an effort to minimise emissions from port operations.

The new RTGs run 100% on electric battery power, meaning diesel only runs when the batteries need to be recharged, which effectively reduces idling time.

The batteries, supplied by Corvus Energy, are expected to reduce fuel consumption by around 70% when compared to conventional diesel port cranes.

The cranes will use regenerative braking energy, which is captured and stored as electricity when a container is lowered, reducing the amount of power required from the generator.

Additionally, a smaller generator — which runs fewer total hours — is meant to reduce maintenance costs for the hybrid RTGs and lower fuel consumption and particulate matter, greenhouse gas, and other air emissions from exhaust.

The Leatherman Terminal’s Phase One will add 700,000 teu of annual throughput capacity to the Port of Charleston when it opens in March. At full build-out, the three-berth terminal will double SC Ports’ current capacity by adding 2.4m teu of throughput capacity.

Newsome added: “The Leatherman Terminal will have ample capacity and the ability to handle a 19,000-teu vessel, enabling more cargo to flow in and out of the Southeast.”

The US$1bn Phase One of the Leatherman Terminal complements efforts to modernise Wando Welch Terminal and deepen Charleston Harbour to 52 ft, which altogether will enable SC Ports to handle four 14,000 teu vessels simultaneously in 2021.


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