WASHINGTON: The South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) is getting ready to order five post-Panamax cranes from China, a move that represents a forthcoming transition to the construction phase of a new $762 million Port of Charleston (SC) terminal, according to The Post and Courier. The first phase of the Leatherman Terminal will be ready by 2020 but will not be fully complete for several more years. Dredging crews in Charleston Harbor will increase channel depth to 52 feet. That and the new terminal are part of the effort to double port capacity.
AECOM is 20% complete with the terminal design phase, but port officials said there is a two-year lead time for crane delivery. The SCPA anticipates being able to award terminal and associated construction contracts by next spring. Since the opening last year of a $5.4 billion Panama Canal shipping lane designed to handle larger vessels, U.S. ports have made it a priority to expand their capacity, too. While the ports in Norfolk, VA, Baltimore and Miami were ready when the new lane opened, other facilities, like Port Charleston, are still catching up.
One of the biggest boons the new canal lane will afford the U.S. economy could be through American energy exports of crude oil, petroleum products and liquefied natural gas. Yet construction of several of the ports that can accommodate that traffic are still underway. Not being fully ready for the larger ships doesn’t mean those ports will lose out on that business altogether. Slater told Construction Dive earlier this month that in those situations, post-Panamax cargo ships would have to carry lighter loads in order to enter those ports. That means the ports and shippers would see lower revenues as compared to a fully loaded vessel. The joint venture of Moss & Associates and Kiewit will oversee a $437 million expansion of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, FL. The Southport Turning Notch Expansion will feature new berths and post-Panamax cranes. The project will also almost triple the deepwater turnaround space for the bigger ships.