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Contact: Erin Dhand, Manager, Corporate Communications and Community Affairs
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South Carolina Port Approves $64 Million in New Equipment

Projects Include Four Container Cranes, 16 RTGs

Charleston, SC – To handle growth over the next five years, the South Carolina State Ports Authority (Ports Authority) Board today approved seven contracts totaling $63.7 million for new equipment and terminal improvements.

The contracts cover four new super-post-Panamax container cranes, 16 new rubber-tired gantry (RTGs) cranes to stack containers and various upgrades to container-handling equipment.

“These projects will give us new capacity and serve as the bridge to port expansion on the former Charleston Naval Complex,” said Bernard S. Groseclose Jr., president & CEO of the Ports Authority.

Charleston expects permits for a new three-berth, 288-acre container terminal by August 2006. Completion of Phase I is expected by 2011.

“Today's action shows we're committed to a strategic expansion of the Port of Charleston's container handling capabilities,” said Groseclose. “Our customers are ready to grow, and we're ready to serve them.”

Charleston's container volume rose 14% in the fiscal year that ended June 30, reaching an all-time record of 1.97 million TEU (20-foot equivalent units). This is more than double the volume Charleston handled just 10 years ago in fiscal 1995.

The projects approved today include:

The Wando Welch Terminal and North Charleston Terminal each will receive two new ship-to-shore container cranes. The new cranes, from ZPMC of China, are expected by early 2007. Also approved were engineering, quality assurance and electrical services associated with construction and installation of the new cranes.

The new RTGs, supplied by Kone, will be capable of stacking containers in the yard one over five high, improving the utilization of existing terminal space and allowing for greater handling capacity. The new machines will bring Charleston's total fleet to 43 RTGs.

The four container handlers, two loaded and two empty, and the conversion of 13 existing toplifters will increase capacity in the container yard, while chassis rotators will improve utilization of space in the chassis storage area. The new container handlers will bring Charleston's fleet of loaded and empty handlers to 59.

The Ports Authority Board also approved measures to enhance security systems and access control at all SPA facilities in Charleston and Georgetown. Virtually all of this $926,449 project will be funded through federal grants. M.C. Dean, Inc. will install the equipment.

In other action, the Ports Authority Board okayed $830,500 for berth maintenance dredging at Columbus Street and Union Pier Terminals. This will be the last dredging effort before installation of the sediment suspension system at Berths 1 and 2 at Columbus Street. Marinex will perform the work.

All of the work and equipment will be funded internally by the Ports Authority's earnings and the proceeds of revenue bonds and not through tax dollars.