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Port unveils new cranes at Wando Welch Terminal

Distribution & Logistics
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Heavy Metal and CraneBob Blue Pants are now standing 155 feet tall at a marine terminal in Mount Pleasant.

The Port of Charleston’s newest cranes — aptly named by fifth-graders at Belle Hall Elementary School — will soon be operational at Wando Welch Terminal in Mount Pleasant.

The massive cranes are crucial for handling the bigger ships already calling on the Port of Charleston, with more anticipated in the future, Port CEO Jim Newsome has said. The new cranes extend 40 feet higher than the port’s existing cranes, and they are better able to stack and move containers on larger ships.

Business executives, politicians and maritime leaders gathered at the Wando terminal Wednesday night for the unveiling of the cranes, which cost the port around $27 million.

“Containerization started in 1956, and this terminal began operation in 1982 and was built out in four phases,” Newsome said. “So, this terminal is 35 years old, and that is part of the reason we stand here tonight — to celebrate the purchase of two new cranes as part of an important wharf refurbishment project here to handle very large containerships.”

Chinese crane manufacturer ZPMC delivered the cranes to the port in August. Workers have since been readying them for use. ZPMC expects to have one crane operational by the end of this month, port spokeswoman Erin Dhand said in an email.

One of the new cranes recently incurred damage when the boom — the long arm of the crane used to move containers — was raised beyond its stopping point. No other details were available about the cause or extent of the damage. Port officials said ZPMC is responsible for fixing the damaged crane, and that those repairs are underway.

The Wando terminal will eventually have eight cranes with 155-foot lift off the ground.

Two additional cranes will be delivered from China in December 2017 for use at the Wando terminal, and four existing cranes will be raised by cutting the crane legs and adding 40-foot sections.

Reach Liz Segrist at 843-849-3119.

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