SC Ports Welcomes Biggest Ship Ever to Call East Coast - SC Ports Authority
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SC Ports Welcomes Biggest Ship Ever to Call East Coast

The COSCO Development arrives this morning in the Charleston Harbor, the deepest in the Southeast region and soon to be the deepest on the East Coast.

May 13, 2017

CHARLESTON, SC – May 13, 2017 – On the heels of record-breaking container volumes in March and April, today South Carolina Ports Authority celebrated another milestone with the arrival of the biggest container ship ever to call the US East Coast.

“The deployment of 13,000 twenty-foot equivalent (TEU) vessels to East Coast ports marks a new era in the global container shipping industry,” said SCPA president and CEO Jim Newsome. “The importance of our port and state’s investments in terminal and infrastructure improvements, additional capacity for volume growth and a deeper harbor are evident with the arrival of the COSCO Development. It is a truly exciting day to see our new super post-Panamax cranes working a ship of this size, and we are proud to be the last Southeast port of call.”

SCPA is expected to move approximately 3,300 containers on and off the COSCO Development, setting a new record for crane moves handled by the Port.

“Our ports are one of the most integral pieces to South Carolina’s economic engine that continues to grow every day, and the COSCO Development’s arrival at the Port of Charleston is a symbol of our state’s competitiveness in the global marketplace,” said South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster. “We will continue to work with everything we have to make sure our harbor is deepened to 52 feet to further allow big ships to call Charleston, which will take our state to a level of prosperity we have never seen.”

The COSCO Development, a 1,200 feet long and 158 feet wide vessel transporting up to 13,092 TEUs, is deployed on the weekly OCEAN Alliance South Atlantic Express (SAX) service connecting Charleston with Hong Kong, Yantian, Ningbo and Shanghai via the Panama Canal. Today 18 of SCPA’s 24 weekly container vessel services are comprised of ships too large to transit the Panama Canal prior to its expansion.

“We have worked hard to ensure the South Carolina Ports Authority remains a competitive, top 10 U.S. container port,” said Senator Larry Grooms, Chairman of the Review and Oversight Commission on the State Ports Authority. “It is exciting to see Charleston as the last port of call for the largest ship ever to visit the East Coast, and there is no doubt that today is the first of many significant milestones ahead for our port system.”

Further supporting the Port’s ability to handle 13,000-14,000 TEU vessels are the Charleston Harbor Deepening project to 52 feet, scheduled to begin this fall; the completion of a wharf strengthening project at the Wando Welch Terminal in conjunction with investments in bigger cranes; and the construction of the Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal.

Media note: The Port’s image gallery has high resolution photos of the COSCO Development’s arrival available for download. Video of the vessel transiting the harbor available here.

About South Carolina Ports Authority
South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA), established by the state’s General Assembly in 1942, owns and operates public seaport facilities in Charleston, Georgetown and Greer. In 2015 SCPA handled international commerce valued at more than $74 billion while receiving no direct taxpayer subsidy. An economic development engine for the state, Port operations facilitate 187,200 statewide jobs and generate nearly $53 billion annual economic activity. Home to the Southeast’s deepest port, SCPA is the industry leader in delivering speed-to-market, seamless processes and flexibility to ensure reliable operations, big ship handling, efficient market reach and environmental responsibility. For more information on SCPA, including career opportunities at all SCPA facilities, please visit

Press & Contact Information

Broadcast Media Inquiries:
Kelsi Brewer, Manager, Public & Community Relations

Print Media Inquiries:
Liz Crumley, Manager, Corporate Communications

200 Ports Authority Dr.
Mt. Pleasant, S.C.

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