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176 Concord Street, P.O. Box 22287, Charleston, SC 29413-2287
Contact: Erin Dhand, Manager, Corporate Communications and Community Affairs
Telephone: 843-577-8121 • Fax: 843-577-8127 • e-mail:


Charleston Takes on Port Projects Valued at US$1.5 Billion

Nearly $1.5 billion in infrastructure and seaport projects are underway in the Port of Charleston to improve the flow of commerce at the Southeast's leading container facility:

(1) Harbor Deepening to -45' Complete The Charleston Harbor Deepening & Widening Project is essentially complete. Channels leading to all container terminals are now -45 feet at mean low water, while the entrance channel has been deepened to -47 feet. The $150-million project will allow Charleston to handle the largest containerships calling the East Coast under any tidal condition. Currently, half of all containerships calling Charleston have design drafts greater than 40 feet.

(2) Two-Year, $128m Capital Plan To improve utilization of existing terminals, Charleston has a two-year, $128-million capital plan. In April 2004, Charleston announced a $6 million purchase of four new Konecranes rubber-tired gantry cranes for stacking containers in the yard. This will bring the port's total number of Konecranes RTGs to 25. In addition, the port's new Yard Management System has been deployed to the North Charleston and Columbus Street terminals. YMS has allowed the port to handle a larger volume of cargo with the same staff, all while cutting turn times.

(3) Nation's Largest Cable-Stayed Bridge Charleston is also home to construction of what will be the largest cable-stayed bridge in the America's. The $635-million bridge will cross the main shipping channel, replacing two older bridges and enhancing vessel access with higher and wider clearance. The project is under budget and ahead of schedule with completion expected in summer 2005. The Ports Authority is funding $45 million for construction and demolition of the existing structures.

(4) Port Expansion at Former Navy Base By the end of 2005, Charleston expects to have permits for a new three-berth, 280-acre container terminal on the former Charleston Navy Complex. The project is supported by S.C. State Law and will boost port capacity by at least 30%. Following a previously contentious expansion effort, elected officials are now fully supporting the project on the former Navy Base.