Two more 155-foot-tall cranes have arrived from China at the Port of Charleston.
The new cranes extend 40 feet higher than most of the existing cranes at the port. Officials say the height is needed as bigger ships call on the port. Larger vessels enable containers to be stacked higher than before, requiring taller cranes to reach the cargo boxes.
The new cranes, made by China-based Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Co. Ltd., arrived Friday. They will enter service in June.
By fall 2019, nine of the 13 cranes at the Wando Welch Terminal in Mount Pleasant will be 155 feet tall.
The first two larger cranes arrived from China in August 2016. Four existing, 115-foot-tall cranes will be raised by cutting the crane legs and adding 40-foot sections. And in addition to the most recent arrivals, one crane is on order from Shanghai for delivery in August 2019.
Port CEO Jim Newsome said the cranes “are an integral part of the port’s plans to modernize existing terminals in order to more efficiently handle big ships.”
The Wando Welch Terminal is undergoing a $48 million construction project to strengthen its wharf and in-water piling, to allow it to handle the wear and tear of larger ships bumping into it. Construction is nearly complete, and the Wando terminal is expected to return to full functionality as a three-berth facility in June.