November 3, 2020

New cranes arrive for SC Ports' Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal

SC Ports welcomed three new ship-to-shore cranes and four new hybrid rubber-tired gantry cranes for the Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal, opening in March. (Photo/SCPA/Walter Lagarenne)
The cranes moved to the Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal early this morning as the sun rose over Charleston Harbor. (Photo/SCPA/English Purcell)

CHARLESTON, SC – NOV. 3, 2020 – SC Ports received three new ship-to-shore cranes and four hybrid rubber-tired gantry cranes today at the Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal in North Charleston.

The arrival of new cargo-handling equipment on the site is a huge milestone for SC Ports’ Leatherman Terminal, which is on schedule to open in March.

With today’s delivery, all five ship-to-shore cranes have arrived at the Leatherman Terminal. The new ship-to-shore cranes have 169 feet of lift height above the wharf deck and an outreach of 228 feet, enabling them to work the biggest container ships calling on the East Coast.

The first four hybrid rubber-tired gantry cranes for the Leatherman Terminal also arrived today. The new RTG cranes are the largest in SC Ports’ fleet, measuring 88 feet tire-to-tire and able to handle containers stacked six high.

“The arrival of cargo-handling equipment at the Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal is a big moment for SC Ports,” SC Ports COO Barbara Melvin said. “These state-of-the-art ship-to-shore-cranes will work some of the largest container ships on the East Coast when we launch operations at the Leatherman Terminal in March, while our hybrid rubber-tired gantry cranes will also ensure efficient operations for our customers.”

The cranes were fabricated by Shanghai-based ZPMC and then disassembled for the journey to Charleston.

The first two ship-to-shore cranes arrived on the Zhen Hua 36 last week; they have since been offloaded from the vessel onto the Leatherman Terminal wharf.

The three additional ship-to-shore cranes and four rubber-tired gantry cranes arrived in Charleston Sunday morning on the Zhen Hua 24.

The vessel docked at Columbus Street Terminal for two days so the cranes could be reconfigured to fit under the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge before traveling up the Cooper River early this morning to the Leatherman Terminal.

Once the cranes are offloaded onto the Leatherman Terminal, the ZPMC USA team will erect, commission and test the cranes over several months before they become operational.

The cranes will then stand on the new 1,400-foot wharf, ready to load and unload cargo boxes from container ships when Phase One of the Leatherman Terminal opens in March.

“The Leatherman Terminal is designed to handle 19,000-TEU vessels, which sets South Carolina up to handle more cargo and remain globally competitive,” SC Ports President and CEO Jim Newsome said. “We have invested more than $2 billion in our infrastructure to ensure we have ample capacity and big-ship capabilities to serve our customers for decades to come. The opening of the Leatherman Terminal is a crucial part of our infrastructure investments. Tomorrow is here.”

Phase One of the Leatherman Terminal will have a 1,400-foot wharf, five ship-to-shore cranes, a 47-acre container yard, and 25 hybrid rubber-tired gantry cranes.

Phase One will add 700,000 TEUs of annual throughput capacity to the Port of Charleston. At full build-out, the three-berth terminal will double SC Ports’ current capacity by adding 2.4 million TEUs of throughput capacity.

The $1 billion Phase One of the Leatherman Terminal complements efforts to modernize Wando Welch Terminal and deepen Charleston Harbor to 52 feet. These investments will enable SC Ports to handle four 14,000-TEU vessels simultaneously in 2021.

Three new ship-to-shore cranes arrived at SC Ports today, making a total of five new ship-to-shore cranes at the Leatherman Terminal. (Photo/SCPA/English Purcell)
Four new hybrid rubber-tired gantry cranes arrived today for the Leatherman Terminal. These RTGs are the largest in SC Ports' fleet. (Photo/SCPA/English Purcell)
The cranes will enable SC Ports to handle more cargo and bigger ships. (Photo/SCPA/Walter Lagarenne)

About South Carolina Ports Authority

South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA), established by the state's General Assembly in 1942, owns and operates public seaport and intermodal facilities in Charleston, Dillon, Georgetown and Greer. As an economic development engine for the state, Port operations facilitate 225,000 statewide jobs and generate nearly $63.4 billion in annual economic activity. SCPA is soon to be home to the deepest harbor on the U.S. East Coast at 52 feet, and the Port is an 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, please visit