March 13, 2019

President's Budget Allocates $138 Million for Charleston Harbor Deepening Project

The Charleston Harbor Deepening Project to 52 feet received $138 million for construction in the President’s FY20 Budget announced this week.

CHARLESTON, SC -- March 13, 2019 -- The President's Fiscal Year 2020 Budget includes $138 million for the 52-foot Charleston Harbor Deepening Project, a milestone that provides an opportunity for the project to receive Congressional funding for construction.

"We are grateful to the Trump Administration for recognizing the value of the Charleston Harbor Deepening Project with an outstanding allocation in this year's budget," said Bill Stern, SCPA Board Chair. "Federal funding at such a high level reflects the importance of our project to the nation and supports the continued progress of construction to 52 feet."

Inclusion in the President's Budget makes the Charleston Harbor Deepening Project eligible for direct appropriations by Congress through the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill this year.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' (USACE) recalculation of the benefit-to-cost ratio (BCR) to a new score of 6.4 last fall allowed the project to meet the threshold for consideration in the President's Budget. The new BCR was driven primarily by SCPA's container cargo volume growth, which significantly outpaced estimates used in the original 2012 study.

"The Charleston Harbor Deepening Project is a strategic priority for South Carolina, and it will be a driver of economic development across our state and region well into the future," said Jim Newsome, SCPA president and CEO. "By 2021 SCPA and the state will have invested more than $2 billion in port infrastructure to support the booming growth of both population and manufacturing in the region. Our deepening project answers the need for a Southeastern port to handle 14,000 to 18,000 twenty-foot equivalent container unit (TEU) vessels drafting 50 feet or more without significant depth and other navigation restrictions."

Construction work began on the Charleston Harbor Entrance Channel in February 2018 following the awarding of the first two dredging contracts, totaling $260 million, by USACE. Deepening the harbor up to SCPA's busiest container terminal, the Wando Welch, is expected by early 2021 in what will be a record construction period of only 40 months.

Praise from South Carolina Leaders:

"President Trump's continued commitment to seeing the Port of Charleston reach its full potential will help facilitate unprecedented economic growth in South Carolina. Our state is the top exporter of tires and automobiles in America, and the President's $138 million budget request will ensure that we maintain preeminence on the East Coast and on the international trade stage." -- S.C. Governor Henry McMaster

"I am very pleased that the Fiscal Year 2020 budget request includes over $138 million for the Charleston Harbor Deepening Project. This is a major step forward. Congress will now have the opportunity to appropriate the funds to ensure this project stays on track to completion. I want to thank President Trump and his leadership for making this happen. There is no doubt that he recognized the critical role our port plays, not only for South Carolina, but for the nation as well." -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham

"The importance of the Charleston Harbor Deepening Project cannot be understated. Whether it be our tourism sector or our booming manufacturing sector, our ports have been essential in creating the strong economy we all benefit from today. I am glad to hear that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is budgeting $138 million for the Charleston Harbor Deepening Project as part of their FY 2020 budget request and look forward to seeing one of our greatest assets continue to bring in revenue for the Palmetto State." -- U.S. Senator Tim Scott

"While the President's budget is dead on arrival, I will work on my side of the Capitol and with our delegation to ensure the final product contains adequate funding for the Charleston Harbor deepening project." -- Congressman Jim Clyburn

"The Port of Charleston received tremendous news with the announcement of the FY 2020 budget request from President Donald Trump. The Port of Charleston supports thousands of businesses and jobs in South Carolina and is critical to our state's growing economy. I join South Carolinians, local leaders, and our Congressional delegation in appreciation for the President's support of the Charleston Harbor Deepening Project." -- Congressman Joe Wilson

"South Carolina's port system drives our state economy and the grand opening of the Inland Port Dillon has brought the success of the state's freight industry to the Pee Dee. Investing in this essential infrastructure will continue to connect our economy to new markets, attracting diverse industry and creating jobs across South Carolina. The inclusion of the Charleston Harbor Deepening Project in the 2020 Budget shows the Trump Administration's commitment to valuable investments that will create opportunities for generations to come in the Palmetto State." -- Congressman Tom Rice

"The Charleston Harbor Deepening Project is of vital importance in making sure Charleston remains a world-class port, and I am thrilled by today's funding news. It's a clear sign that the Administration recognizes the importance of the Port of Charleston to the entire state of South Carolina." -- Congressman Joe Cunningham

"The Charleston Harbor Deepening Project is critical to ensuring South Carolina remains a world class port supporting world-class companies. Today's game-changing funding in the President's Budget is tremendous news, and along with the significant investment by the State of South Carolina, ensures the project remains on track and benefits the state for generations to come. I thank the Trump Administration for recognizing the importance of this project and thank the South Carolina Congressional Delegation for their continued support." -- Senator Hugh Leatherman, S.C. Senate Finance Committee Chairman

"Our state has supported this project since day one because we see the value of a competitive port to our citizens and businesses. We greatly appreciate President Trump including this significant construction funding for the Charleston Harbor Deepening Project and look forward to our state realizing its benefits as soon as possible." -- S.C. Speaker of the House Jay Lucas

"Good news out of Washington is rare, but today is a rare and good day." -- Senator Larry Grooms, Chairman of the S.C. Senate Transportation Committee and the Review and Oversight Commission on the Ports Authority

"We are pleased that strong funding for the Charleston Harbor Deepening Project has been included in the Fiscal Year 2020 proposed federal budget. Our State has committed significant bi-partisan support to the Harbor Project, and the prioritization at the federal level will ensure continued economic growth and prosperity for our state, region and nation." -- Senator Nikki Setzler, S.C. Senate Minority Leader

"South Carolina has made significant investments in our world class port system, and it is great news that the President's Budget includes a strong investment by the Federal Government to ensure timely completion and efficient use of state and federal resources. Thank you to the Trump Administration for recognizing the merits of this project." -- Representative Murrell Smith, S.C. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman

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 187,200 statewide jobs and generate nearly $53 billion 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