The new, larger cranes will replace two built in 1989; they will have the outreach and lift capacity necessary to efficiently handle larger ships in the port. Shanghai-based ZPMC, which previously delivered four super post-Panamax cranes to Charleston in 2007, will construct and deliver the cranes. The new equipment is expected to be delivered during the summer of 2015.
The new crane budget is part of the overall fiscal year 2014 financial plan, approved by the South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) Board of Directors, which includes US$123m in capital spending on a number of strategic projects and volume increases across business segments.
The budget also includes funding major infrastructure investments, such as the new container terminal at the former Navy Base as well as other upgrades to existing facilities. The largest single area of spending is for the South Carolina Inland Port in Greer, SC, with US$29.1m planned to cover the remaining SCPA share of the project. The new facility is scheduled for a September 2013 opening.
“Our public seaport system is an economic engine, spurring opportunity all across South Carolina,” said Bill Stern, chairman of the SCPA Board. “The inland port will further expand the port’s connection to the Upstate and will drive job creation and investment to that region.”
The financial plan also projects a nearly 6% increase in container volume on the strength of new, weekly services commencing this summer and increased volume from existing services.
“Above-market growth is essential to carrying out our aggressive investment plans over the coming years,” said Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the SCPA. “As post-Panamax ships continue to be deployed in the Port of Charleston, our deep shipping channels and dockside infrastructure become even more critical. Our plan reflects investments that will keep our ports competitive as our customers decide where to place service strings and route cargo.”