The Charleston Harbour Deepening Project has received a financial boost with $49 million of funding announced by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in its 2018 budget.
Charleston Harbour, which includes public terminals owned and operated by the South Carolina State Ports Authority as well as private terminals, needs to have channels dredged so it can accommodate Post Panamax vessels and even bigger ships on the way.
Container ships of 14,000 teu capacity are calling at US east coast ports and 18,000 teu ones will be next, probably next year. Charleston and South Carolina do not want to miss out.
Its current depth is 45 feet but it needs to be 52 feet at least. That’s the target of the project.
Without deepening, the largest ships have to carry less cargo or wait for favourable tide conditions.
This $49m from USACE will be combined with a $50m loan from the state of South Carolina allowing the harbour to be deepened as far as the Wando Welch Terminal by early 2021.
Dredging work began in February after USACE awarded the first two contracts, worth $260m.