August 18, 2022

SC Ports completes infrastructure project while maintaining fluidity

The modernization of Wando Welch Terminal increases capacity. (Photo/SCPA/Walter Lagarenne)

CHARLESTON, SC — AUG. 18, 2022 — Fifteen ship-to-shore cranes now stand 155 feet above the wharf deck at Wando Welch Terminal, efficiently working mega container ships at the Port of Charleston.

The fifteenth and final crane was recently moved into position along the waterfront. With five cranes to a berth, Wando Welch Terminal is now even more capable of efficiently working three 14,000-TEU vessels simultaneously.

The new ship-to-shore cranes have 155 feet of lift height and the ability to reach out over 22 containers to work the biggest ships calling the East Coast. Crane operators efficiently move containers on and off ships, helping to keep the supply chain fluid.

“It is truly remarkable to see the final crane of our new fleet moved into place on the Wando Welch Terminal wharf. This is the culmination of years of effort, planning and coordination by our team and project partners,” SC Ports President and CEO Barbara Melvin said. “Our modern equipment provides smarter operations and more fluidity for the supply chain.”

The cranes are a key part of SC Ports’ $500 million investment to modernize Wando Welch Terminal. The multi-year project enhanced capacity and operations with new container-handling equipment, a modernized container yard and refrigerated cargo yard, improved traffic patterns and IT systems, a strengthened wharf, and an on-terminal transload facility for mega retailers.

“SC Ports boldly invests in infrastructure ahead of demand, ensuring we have the capabilities and capacity to meet our customers’ needs,” Melvin said. “Our SC Ports team and broader maritime community put in the work every day to make these investments successful.”

Maintaining fluidity

In addition to investing in port infrastructure, SC Ports continues to deploy creative solutions for the supply chain.

SC Ports has extended Sunday gate hours for motor carriers through at least peak season, given berth priority to vessels taking out more cargo, significantly improved rail dray dwell times to around 36 hours, hired more than 150 people in operations to handle the influx of cargo, and launched a port-owned and port-operated chassis pool.

These efforts have helped SC Ports maintain fluidity. There have been no vessels waiting since early May, though supply chain challenges continue along the East Coast.

SC Ports handled 216,097 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) and 119,872 pier containers at Wando Welch Terminal, North Charleston Terminal and Leatherman Terminal in July.

SC Ports moved 21,034 vehicles at Columbus Street Terminal in July, a 36% increase year-over-year. Inland Port Greer and Inland Port Dillon reported combined 11,383 rail moves in July.

“We are continuing to be adaptive and responsive to ensure fluidity for our customers and cargo owners,” Melvin said.

About South Carolina Ports Authority

South Carolina Ports Authority, 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. SC Ports is soon to be home to the deepest harbor on the U.S. East Coast at 52 feet. SC Ports 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. Please visit to learn more about SC Ports.