South Carolina Ports (SC Ports) has handled a container ship at the deepest draft to-date at the new 52-foot-deep Charleston Harbor.
The MSC Rayshmi set the record for deepest draft at SC Ports, arriving at 48 feet and 11 inches of draft. Five cranes worked the vessel at Wando Welch Terminal. Crane operators moved 2,758 containers on and off the ship.
“SC Ports can efficiently handle fully loaded mega container ships at any tide thanks to our strategic investments in port operations, the talent of our maritime community and the success of the Charleston Harbor Deepening Project,” SC Ports President and CEO Barbara Melvin said.
With four of the five deepening contracts already completed, Charleston now has a 52-foot depth leading up to its two biggest container terminals — Wando Welch Terminal and Leatherman Terminal.
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According to SC Ports, the 52-foot depth removes tidal restrictions for fully laden, post-Panamax vessels.
The Charleston Harbor Deepening Project is set to be completed by this fall, and the remaining contract will yield a 48-foot depth to North Charleston Terminal.
“The Charleston Harbor Deepening Project will be completed faster than any project of its kind in the country,” Melvin said.
“This amazing feat was made possible with the great support of Governor Henry McMaster, the South Carolina Legislature and the Congressional delegation, and through our strong partnership with the US Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District.”
SC Ports achieved a record fiscal year 2022 as consumer demand drove growth in spite of supply chain challenges.
The port authority has reported 2.85 million TEU moved at Wando Welch Terminal, North Charleston Terminal and Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal in fiscal year 2022.