The building of the first new container terminal in the USA in more than a decade is progressing in Port Charleston SC towards its opening in March 2021, South Carolina Ports announced. While the container terminal project is now moving forward, the South Carolina state is confronted by legal challenges for the broader plans for the redevelopment of another part of the city’s waterfront including a new cruise terminal.
The new containership terminal (Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal) will add 700,000 TEU-containers of annual throughput capacity to Port Charleston and the capability to handle 19,000-TEU boxships. By the time the project is completed, the 3-berth terminal will double SC Ports' current capacity by adding 2,4 million TEUs of throughput capacity.
SC Ports engineering and construction teams reached several key building milestones as the terminal continues to take shape. Among the milestones was the concrete pour for the 1400-ft wharf which is due to accommodating 5 ship-to-shore cranes. The first 2 cranes are scheduled to arrive from China in September, with the remaining 3 arriving in October. The terminal will have 25 hybrid rubber-tired gantry cranes scheduled to arrive later in 2020.
SC Ports is now in the final year of a 6-year capital improvement plan, a culmination of USD 2 billion in investments and years of strategic infrastructure planning. Leatherman Terminal complements efforts to deepen Charleston Harbor to 52 feet and modernize Wando Welch Terminal. The investments will enable SC Ports to handle four 14,000-TEU ships simultaneously in 2021.
Along another waterfront's part, the Ports Authority finds itself caught in a legal battle for a new cruise ship terminal and redevelopment of the area. The state proposed developing a new cruise terminal just to the north of the dated facility which was opened back in the 1970s when cruise vessels were smaller and carried fewer passengers. The area's masterplan calls for the area where the old terminal is to be redeveloped to include a hotel and a waterfront park.
Opponents of the plan have argued about the impact on the community including congestion and pollution. South Carolina Supreme Court recently ruled that Charleston residents have the right to bring the case in court in opposition to the project overturning the lower court order. The lower court will be holding hearings in order to determine if the project and permits need to be reviewed.
Carnival Cruise Line homeported one of its liners in Charleston and is reportedly interested in a new 20-year agreement with the cruise port to continue homeporting operations. Having gained permits, the State Ports Authority thought that was making progress on the plan but will now have to dispute with additional court hearings.