The cranes arrived in Charleston Harbor yesterday aboard the Zhen Hua 28 vessel after a two-month journey from China. SCPA’s crane purchases are part of a multiyear effort to further modernize operations and upgrade infrastructure to handle larger ships.
The cranes will remain at Columbus Street Terminal in downtown Charleston for several days before being transported to their permanent home at Wando Welch Terminal in Mount Pleasant. The new cranes will be assembled and commissioned behind the wharf; the cranes will then be moved to begin working ships at Wando Welch Terminal in early 2020.
“S.C. Ports Authority is excited to add three more ship-to-shore cranes with 155 feet of lift height to S.C. Ports, which will increase our berth productivity,” SCPA President and CEO Jim Newsome said. “We have a great partnership with Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries (ZPMC). Our investments in crane infrastructure equip us to handle the bigger container ships being deployed by ocean carriers today.”
Wando Welch Terminal currently has 12 ship-to-shore cranes; eight have 155 feet of lift height and four have 115 feet of lift height.
The three new cranes will replace three of the existing cranes, which will move to North Charleston Terminal, meaning Wando Welch Terminal will have 11 cranes with 155 feet of lift height and one crane with 115 feet of lift height in 2020.
S.C. Ports will receive four additional cranes with 155 feet of lift height in 2020 for a total of 15 such cranes operating at Wando Welch Terminal by the end of 2020. These taller cranes will enable S.C. Ports to continue working the largest ships already calling the Port of Charleston and the U.S. East Coast.
“These modern cranes are incredibly tall and have a wider reach, enabling crane operators to seamlessly move containers back and forth on 14,000-TEU-and-above vessels,” SCPA COO Barbara Melvin said. “Bigger cranes are part of our strategy to ensure we run efficient operations and remain competitive in the era of big ships.”
SCPA’s infrastructure investments, combined with the ongoing Charleston Harbor Deepening Project, will enable Wando Welch Terminal to handle three 14,000 twenty-foot equivalent container unit (TEU) ships simultaneously next year.