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Contact: Erin Dhand, Manager, Corporate Communications and Community Affairs
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SCSPA Completes Second Step in Competitive Bid Process

Preliminary Responses Due August 1 for Port Expansion in Charleston, Jasper County

Newark, NJ – With the second step complete, 21 of the world's leading ocean carriers and marine terminal operators have until August 1 to share their vision of future port development on two major sites in South Carolina.

The South Carolina State Ports Authority (SCSPA) today held its final informational meeting with ocean carriers and terminal operating companies to detail the two expansion projects - a three-berth, 280-acre container terminal in Charleston at the former Navy Base and a 1,800-acre site on the Savannah River in Jasper County.

By August 1, companies must respond in writing to detail the nature and level of their interest, including their concepts of operational structure, financial participation, the SCSPA's role and the benefits to South Carolina. These confidential responses will be used to develop a formal Request for Proposals (RFP) that will be issued this fall.

The Ports Authority Board on Tuesday unanimously reaffirmed its commitment to the competitive process.

“We're moving ahead with a fair bid process to get the best deal,” said Bernard S. Groseclose Jr., president and chief executive officer of the SCSPA, “and the level of participation shows that the Charleston and Jasper projects are quite attractive.”

In February, the SCSPA invited private participation in the projects. The formal Request for Expression of Interest (RFEI) issued in February was broad, “seeking private sector interest in participating financially in terminal design and development and operation of either or both” of South Carolina's major port expansion projects.

A month later, 21 of the world's leading ocean carriers and marine terminal operators responded favorably and expressed interest.

The SCSPA conducted its first informational session June 13 in Charleston. Twelve firms were briefed on the projects and next steps and offered a tour of the port site in Charleston. The remaining firms participated in today's briefing.

The Corps of Engineers expects a decision on permits for the Charleston expansion project by August 2006. In January, the SPA Board approved a nearly $5 million environmental study to obtain the necessary approvals. While the Charleston expansion is somewhat ahead of the Jasper project, the SCSPA intends to move both projects ahead on parallel courses.

Companies expressing interest and participating in the process include 15 ocean carriers and six marine terminal operators. Ocean Carriers: APL, CMA-CGM America, CSAV, COSCO North America, Evergreen America, Hanjin Shipping, Hyundai Merchant Marine (America), K-Line America, Maersk Inc., Mistui O.S.K. Line, NYK Line (North America), OOCL (USA), P&O Nedlloyd, Yang Ming (America) and Zim-American Integrated Shipping Company. Marine Terminal Operators: APM Terminals, Ceres Terminals, Hutchison-Westports, MTC (Marine Terminals Corp.), P&O Ports North America and SSA Marine.