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The South Carolina Ports Authority's (SCPA) board this week approved a $69.5 million contract for the purchase of six ship-to-shore cranes to handle growing container volumes and big ships calling at the Port of Charleston.Manufactured by Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Ltd., the five cranes will offer 169 feet of lift height. They will be delivered to the Hugh K. Leatherman Sr. Terminal, which is under construction, SCPA officials said in a press release."As the largest crane purchase in our history, the contract approved [Oct. 30] is an important part of our overall investment in infrastructure and capacity to ensure the port is well positioned for the future," said Jim Newsome, SCPA president and chief executive officer. "When the cranes arrive in late 2019, deepening of the Charleston Harbor to 52 feet will be nearly two-thirds complete and construction of our new container terminal will also be nearly finished."Phase I of the terminal is scheduled to open in mid-2020 with an annual capacity of 628,000 20-foot equivalent units (TEU).In September, SCPA recorded a 10 percent increase in container growth, handling 179,856 TEUs. From July through September, the first quarter of the SCPA's 2018 fiscal year, the port handled 539,995 TEUs, a nearly 4 percent year-over-year increase.
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