With the third and final wharf at Wando Welch Terminal now back in operation, the State Ports Authority is in the market for some new ship-to-shore cranes.
“We really want to be able to handle three 14,000 (container) ships at one time on that terminal,” said Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the authority that operates the Port of Charleston.
That’s something the 36-year-old terminal can’t do now, Newsome said, because it doesn’t have enough of the 155-foot-tall cranes that move cargo boxes on and off the big container ships while they’re docked.
“You need to put a minimum of four cranes on those ships, preferably five,” Newsome said. “If we had 15 cranes, we could put three sets of five on the ships.”
The authority bought two of the supersized cranes in 2016 from China’s Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries, also known as ZPMC, and two more arrived in February. The agency is raising four other cranes that it already owns to 155 feet, and that work will be finished by the first quarter of next year.
Three more cranes are on their way from China, scheduled to arrive in about a year.
That will give Wando Welch a total of 11 big cranes, with Newsome hoping to convince the State Ports Authority’s board of directors to spring for more.
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