SC Ports sees strong volumes, progress at Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal – SC Ports Authority
Home > About the Port > Newsroom > SC Ports sees strong volumes, progress at Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal

SC Ports sees strong volumes, progress at Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal

March 17, 2020

SC Ports saw record cargo volumes in February. (Photo/SCPA/English Purcell)

CHARLESTON, SC — MARCH 17, 2020 — S.C. Ports Authority had a record February for both cargo volumes at oceanside terminals and rail moves at inland ports.

S.C. Ports moved 197,214 twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEUs) across the Wando Welch and North Charleston container terminals in February. SCPA has handled nearly 1.64 million TEUs thus far in fiscal year 2020, from July through February, a 4% increase from the same time a year ago.

As measured by the total number of boxes handled, SCPA moved 110,927 pier containers in February. The Port has handled 924,526 pier containers in fiscal year 2020.

Loaded export TEUs were up nearly 20% and loaded import TEUs were up about 14% over last February, both of which are record levels for that month.

Vehicle volumes are up 26% year-over-year with a total of 149,340 vehicles handled thus far in fiscal year 2020. The Port moved 18,156 vehicles at Columbus Street Terminal in February.

S.C. Ports handled 468,319 pier tons of breakbulk in fiscal year 2020, up 22% year-over-year.

S.C. Ports’ two rail-served inland terminals both saw record activity in February. Inland Port Greer, located in the Upstate, reported 13,749 rail moves in February for a total of 99,920 rail moves in fiscal year 2020, up nearly 18% year-over-year. Inland Port Dillon, located in the Pee Dee, reported 3,068 rail moves in February for a total of 22,893 rail moves in fiscal year 2020, up 22%.

“S.C. Ports had a very strong February in multiple business segments. These volumes are bright spots amid much uncertainty in the global market,” S.C. Ports Authority President and CEO Jim Newsome said. “S.C. Ports is operating normally and working with the entire maritime community to ensure supply chains remain functional. The Port provides an essential service, helping to move vital goods to people and businesses throughout the Southeast and beyond.”

Construction progresses at Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal (HLT)

The country’s newest container terminal, the Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal, is on track to open in March 2021 as construction advances in early 2020.

Site work for Phase One is well underway, preparing the terminal to handle trucks, operations, refrigerated container racks, containers and cranes. Phase One will have five cranes with 169-feet of lift height and 228 feet of outreach — arriving in late summer — and 25 hybrid rubber-tired gantry cranes — arriving in winter 2020.

Several buildings are beginning to take shape on the terminal, including the terminal operations building, the vessel operations building, several booths, canopies and other support facilities.

 Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal’s wharf
The Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal’s wharf work is about 80% complete as construction progresses on Phase One of the new container terminal. (Photo/SCPA/Walter Lagarenne)

Phase One will have a 1,400-foot wharf capable of handling up to 19,000-TEU vessels. The wharf piles have been installed, and the concrete placement for the wharf deck is ongoing. The overall wharf work is about 80% complete.

“The ongoing collaboration between S.C. Ports engineering team and our contracting partners has led to impressive progress on the site, ensuring Phase One of the Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal is on schedule to open in March 2021,” said Walter Lagarenne, S.C. Ports’ Director of Engineering and Permitting.

Phase One will add 700,000 TEUs of capacity to S.C. Ports. The three-berth terminal will double Port capacity at full build-out, boasting 2.4 million TEUs of capacity.

“Mega container vessels will call on the country’s newest container terminal this time next year,” Newsome said. “Our incredibly modern terminal will house the Port of Charleston’s largest ship-to-shore cranes, 25 new RTG cranes, a highly skilled workforce and a new wharf, all of which will greatly enhance our cargo capacity and big-ship capabilities.”

SC Ports Board approves agreement with Lowe

South Carolina Ports Authority board approved today a professional services agreement with Lowe, the owner of the Wild Dunes Resort and developer of the new Cooper Hotel on Charleston Harbor, to entitle and sell the non-maritime portion of Union Pier for redevelopment.

The entitlement process entails master planning, design and community collaboration. The process is estimated to last between 30-36 months. Once finalized, Lowe will work on behalf of South Carolina Ports Authority to sell the non-maritime portion of Union Pier.

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 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

Press & Contact Information

Broadcast Media Inquiries:
Kelsi Brewer, General Manager, Public Relations & Digital Media

Print Media Inquiries:
Liz Crumley, Manager, Corporate Communications

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

Twitter Feed