2nd Deal Awarded for Charleston Harbor Deepening

The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Charleston District has awarded the second construction contract for work in the Charleston Harbor Entrance Channel as part of the Charleston Harbor Post 45 Deepening Project.

The award is for USD 213 million to Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company 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.

This is the final contract that will be required to complete the deepening of the Entrance Channel and is part of the overall USD 529 million project cost. The construction of the entire project is expected to take 40-76 months.

“The awarding of the second construction contract for dredging the Charleston Harbor Entrance Channel to 54 feet 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 US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Charleston District,” Jim Newsome, South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) president and CEO, commented.

“We look forward to seeing dredges in our harbor within the next few months and ultimately the completion of this effort that will make Charleston the deepest harbor on the East Coast at 52 feet,” Newsome added.

The deepening will allow access to ultra large container vessels (ULCVs) without tidal restriction.

Separately, SCPA informed that its board of directors approved a USD 69.5 million contract for the purchase of six new ship-to-shore (STS) cranes to serve growing container volumes and big ships calling the Port of Charleston.

“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,” Newsome said.

Manufactured by Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries, LTD (ZPMC), the five cranes offering 169 feet of lift height will be delivered to the Hugh K. Leatherman, Sr. Terminal, the only permitted container terminal under construction on the US East or Gulf coasts. Phase One of the terminal is scheduled to open in mid-2020 with an annual capacity of 628,000 TEU.

In addition, one 155-foot crane will be delivered to the Wando Welch Terminal, 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 handling of two 14,000 TEU vessels simultaneously.

Earlier, SCPA reported that it handled 539,995 TEUs from July through September, a nearly 4 percent year-over-year increase.