The South Carolina Ports Authority has been awarded a $10.8 million Transportation Infrastructure Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant for planned upgrades and improvements to its Wando Welch Terminal.
“We are deeply appreciative for the support of our Congressional delegation and the Obama Administration, who were instrumental in elevating the visibility of our port, an important asset to South Carolina and the entire nation,” said Bill Stern, SCPA Board Chairman. “The Wando Terminal improvements ensure that the SCPA has the infrastructure necessary to handle growing import and export cargo volumes on a new generation of ocean vessels, supporting US trade goals and our nation’s role in international commerce.”
The US Department of Transportation grant represents nearly 13 percent of the total estimated project cost for upgrading the SCPA’s busiest container terminal. The two-year project includes upgrades to structural support of the wharf and fendering system, as well as modifications to crane rails to accommodate two new super-post-Panamax cranes on order for the terminal.
“This announcement couldn’t be more timely, given the information shared by industry experts at this week’s SC International Trade Conference,” said Jim Newsome, SCPA president and CEO. “The prevailing sentiment throughout the maritime community and supporting industries is that ports are facing significant infrastructure improvement needs. It is clear that post-Panamax vessels are the new standard and that port competitiveness is and will continue to be driven by the ability to accommodate big ships.”
Construction on the project will begin in the spring of 2015 and will be completed in two or two and a half years, followed by the Post-45 Harbor Deepening Project and the opening of a new SCPA container terminal on the former Navy Base by the end of the decade.