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SC Ports’ Leatherman Terminal recognized as ‘South Carolina Project of the Year’

[ July 2, 2021   //   ]

South Carolina Ports’ Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal has been named 2021 South Carolina Project of the Year by the South Carolina Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

This prestigious award recognizes the complex engineering and construction process behind the Leatherman Terminal’s Phase One, and it celebrates the extensive collaboration among numerous partners needed to realize the $1 billion project.

The state-of-the-art container terminal can efficiently work the biggest ships calling on East Coast ports. Phase One was completed on budget and ahead of schedule. The terminal handled its first container on March 30 and welcomed its first vessel on April 9.

“SC Ports is immensely proud to open the first container terminal in the U.S. since 2009 in South Carolina, adding capacity to the East Coast port market at a time it is sorely needed,” SC Ports President and CEO Jim Newsome said. “The opening of Leatherman Terminal is the culmination of years of effort by our talented engineering team and project partners. It is their expertise, vision and hard work that made this container terminal a reality.”

Project partners had to navigate challenging site conditions and oversee a complicated project while managing multiple contracts and hundreds of people working on the site every day.

The SC Ports’ engineering team worked with many contractors, including primary contract holders HDR Inc., Banks Construction Co., Samet Corp., Cape Romain/McLean A Joint Venture and Cape Romain Contractors Inc., as well as many South Carolina-based secondary contractors.

Many efforts contributed to the success of the project and the opening of Phase One, including SC Ports’ clear vision of its needs and priorities, and a collaborative spirit that encouraged innovation among all partners working on the site.

Additional strategies proved to be critical to project success, such as:
• A design and contracting strategy that prioritized local participation, with more than 80% of the dollars spent on construction contracts being awarded to S.C.-based firms.
• Value engineering at the beginning of the construction process that discovered tens of millions of dollars in savings.
• A risk management process that anticipated and proactively managed obstacles.

“Building and operating a port is like orchestrating an intricate ballet,” SC Ports COO Barbara Melvin said. “This momentous achievement of opening and operating our world-class facility is the result of tremendous collaboration among our entire team — particularly our excellent engineers — and numerous project partners.”

Leatherman Terminal strengthens SC Ports’ big-ship capabilities and adds 700,000 TEUs of throughput capacity. Its equipment, technology and design provide reliable, efficient service to customers.

The 1,400-foot berth can handle a 20,000-TEU vessel. Five electric ship-to-shore cranes with 169 feet of lift height and 228 feet of outreach stand on the wharf.

The 25 hybrid rubber-tired gantry cranes and eight empty container handlers efficiently move cargo boxes around the terminal. The rubber-tired gantry cranes are designed to reduce emissions and energy consumption. A six-acre refrigerated cargo area includes six-story tall, refrigerated container racks, enabling SC Ports to handle more refrigerated and frozen goods.

At full buildout, the $2 billion Leatherman Terminal will have three berths and 286 acres, adding 2.4 million TEUs and doubling current port capacity.

SC Ports’ Leatherman Terminal will have lasting positive impacts on the maritime community and state. It greatly enhances South Carolina’s supply chain and serves S.C. businesses, distribution centers, mega retailers and advanced manufacturers.

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