Photo: SCPA

Two giant ship-to-shore cranes arrive at SC Ports

South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) received two new ship-to-shore (STS) cranes on 26 October, marking the first cargo-handling equipment to arrive for the Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal, which is under construction in North Charleston.

Image Courtesy: SCPA

When the terminal opens in March, it will be outfitted with some of the tallest cranes on the East Coast. The cranes will have 169 feet of lift height above the wharf deck and an outreach of 228 feet, enabling them to handle the biggest containerships calling on the East Coast.

The cranes, fabricated by Shanghai-based crane manufacturer Zhenhua Heavy Industries Co ZPMC, arrived at Columbus Street Terminal on the heavy lift vessel Zhen Hua 36 on Monday afternoon. They are the first two of five STS cranes to arrive for the Leatherman Terminal.

The cranes, which were disassembled for the journey, will remain at Columbus Street Terminal for about two days to be reconfigured to fit under the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, according to SCPA.

They will then make their way up the Cooper River to the Leatherman Terminal. Upon arrival, the ZPMC USA team will erect, commission and test the cranes over several months before they become operational.

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

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“The Leatherman Terminal is designed to handle 19,000-TEU vessels, giving SC Ports great capacity and big-ship capabilities to serve our customers. We look forward to welcoming the first ship at the Leatherman Terminal in March,” Jim Newsome, SC Ports President and CEO, commented.

The Zhen Hua 24 is carrying the second shipment of three ship-to-shore cranes, as well as four hybrid rubber-tired gantry cranes. This shipment is scheduled to arrive on 3 November 2020.

“The arrival of our new ship-to-shore cranes for the Leatherman Terminal is an incredible moment for SC Ports,” Barbara Melvin, SC Ports COO, said.

“These cranes will soon be working the largest container ships on the East Coast at our container terminal.”

Phase One of the Leatherman Terminal will have a 1,400-foot wharf, five ship-to-shore cranes with 169 feet of lift height above the wharf deck, and 25 hybrid rubber-tired gantry cranes. This phase 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.

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.

The investments are part of the $277.6 million capital plan — the largest in SCPA’s history — which was approved back in June 2018.