Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal

Hapag-Lloyd's Yorktown Express becomes the first ship to call at the new Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal in North Charleston, South Carolina, April 9, 2021. Photo: SC Ports Walter Lagarenne

South Carolina Opens First New Container Terminal in U.S. Since 2009

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 7673
April 9, 2021

South Carolina Ports officially opened the new Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal on Friday by welcoming the Hapag Lloyd’s Yorktown Express as the first ship to call at the terminal.

The new terminal is actually the first container terminal to open in the United States since 2009.

The opening comes as SC Ports just had its busiest month ever in its history in March. Phase One of the terminal development adds 700,000 TEUs of annual throughput capacity to the Port of Charleston, with 1,400-feet of berth space and five ship-to-shore cranes tall enough to handle the biggest ships calling on the East Coast.

At a cost of $1 billion, Phase One is among the biggest and most significant economic development projects in South Carolina’s history.

“The Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal is an investment in the future of South Carolina that will spur economic development, create jobs, and further our state’s position as an international business destination for years to come,” said South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster. “This project is a momentous achievement which highlights the strengths of Team South Carolina. I congratulate the South Carolina Ports Authority and everyone who has worked towards achieving this historic day.”

The Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal is located along the Cooper River in North Charleston, South Carolina, near Charleston Harbor. The terminal’s 1,400-foot berth can handle ships up to 20,000 TEU capacity, while its five electric ship-to-shore cranes can achieve a lift height of 169 feet and 228 feet of outreach. The terminal includes a 47-acre container yard with 25 energy efficient hybrid rubber-tired gantry cranes and eight empty container handlers to efficiently move containers, plus a six-acre refrigerated cargo area with six-story tall refrigerated container racks.

The Leatherman Terminal is part of a $2 billion infrastructure investment plan, which also involves enhancing SC Ports’ Wando Welch Terminal. With these combined investments, SC Ports can handle four 14,000-TEU vessels simultaneously.

At full buildout, the Leatherman Terminal will have three berths and 286 acres, adding 2.4 million TEUs of annual throughput capacity, doubling current capacity.

“SC Ports is extremely proud to open the first container terminal in the U.S. since 2009 in South Carolina. This took years of effort by our team and project partners,” said SC Ports CEO Jim Newsome. “We have invested in the right infrastructure at the right time to handle growing cargo volumes and bigger ships, ensuring SC Ports remains a top 10 U.S. container port. The Leatherman Terminal adds a berth and more capacity to the Port of Charleston when it is most needed on the East Coast. We made history today as we advance SC Ports’ capabilities and enhance South Carolina’s supply chain for generations to come. Tomorrow is here at SC Ports.”

SC Ports handled 2.3 million TEUS at the Port of Charleston in its Fiscal Year 2020, which ended June 30, 2020. Fiscal-year-to-date, SC Ports has handled 1.86 million TEUs from July through March.

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