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Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal still on schedule for March opening

Staff Report //August 7, 2020//

Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal still on schedule for March opening

Staff Report //August 7, 2020//

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The first phase of the Port of Charleston’s newest terminal is on track for its March opening.

“We look forward to opening the first phase of the Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal, which will be the country’s first container terminal in more than a decade,” S.C. Ports President and CEO Jim Newsome said in a news release today. “The Leatherman Terminal will enable S.C. Ports to handle more cargo and bigger ships. Businesses depend on us to efficiently move their cargo, and this flow of goods creates more jobs and investment in South Carolina.”

Once the first phase is complete, the 286-acre project will add 700,000 TEUs of annual throughput capacity to South Carolina’s port system. The terminal will have doubled the system’s current capacity of 2.4 million TEUs after all phases are complete.

S.C. Ports’ engineering team of HDR Inc., Banks Construction Co., Samet Corp., Cape Romain/McLean A Joint Venture and Cape Romain Contractors Inc. are now reaching the final stretch in the construction of the three-berth terminal, according to the release.

“Our engineering team and project partners have done an absolutely amazing job overseeing this very complex construction project,” S.C. Ports COO Barbara Melvin said in the release. “It is so exciting to see the culmination of a multidecade effort nearing completion. With great creativity and coordination, they are transforming the former Navy Base site into a state-of-the-art container terminal.”

In July, crews poured the deck for the terminal’s 1,400-foot wharf and built the foundation. The steel backbones for 6-story-tall refrigerated container racks are now being installed, as well as additional concrete and asphalt paving at the site. Vertical construction of the terminal is almost 70% complete, according to the news release.

“Construction is progressing very well as we remain on schedule,” Melvin said in the release. “Our engineering project manager Butch Weber describes the site as a small city, and it is truly remarkable to see it all coming together.”

Five cranes used to lift cargo containers onto land are now being fabricated by Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Co. Ltd. in China, with two set to arrive in September, according to the release, followed by three in October.

The project marks the final year of S.C. Ports’ six-year, $2 billion capital improvement plan including the renovation of the Wando Welch Terminal and deepening of Charleston Harbor, the release said.

“Phase I of the Leatherman Terminal will give us the ability to handle a 19,000-TEU ship, should one come to the East Coast. Not many ports can say that,” Melvin said in the release. “The modern capabilities and capacity of this terminal benefits customers and strengthens our global competitiveness.”