South Carolina celebrates deepening of Charleston’s port

Dec 5, 2022, 11:42 AM | Updated: 11:45 am
FILE - A sign marks the site of a new South Carolina Ports Authority terminal named for longtime st...

FILE - A sign marks the site of a new South Carolina Ports Authority terminal named for longtime state Sen. Hugh Leatherman on Monday, Oct. 25, 2021, in North Charleston, S.C. Work has finished on deepening the ship channel leading to the port to 52 feet so the world's largest ships can continue to dock there. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard, File)

(AP Photo/Meg Kinnard, File)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina has deepened the Charleston’s port to make sure it can take in any ship and remains one of the largest harbors on the East Coast.

The channel leading to the Port of Charleston is now 52 feet (15.8 meters) deep, once again allowing the biggest ships in the world to make it in and out of the harbor.

The new channel runs some 40 miles (64 kilometers) through the inner harbor and open ocean and is wide enough where one ship coming in can pass the other leaving the state.

“Any time, any tide, any day. I’m not sure anyone else can say that,” South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said at a Monday ceremony marking the end of the 12-year project.

The Charleston port has long been seen as the economic heart of South Carolina. The first deepening project was in 1851, taking the 12-foot channel to 17 feet (3.7 meters to 5.2 meters). The eighth one completed this year was prompted by the expansion of the Panama Canal to match the largest ships that can take the shortcut from the Pacific to the Atlantic.

The Charleston port’s position as deepest on the East Coast is precarious. Work has started in Norfolk to make the Port of Virginia deeper.

And South Carolina officials acknowledge its not just a deep channel that assures a port’s success. Hundreds of millions of dollars are being poured into better rail lines and highways to get goods in and out as well as speeding up and making more efficient the loading and unloading of the ships themselves.

Almost all of the biggest and fastest growing companies in South Carolina over the past 30 years — like BMW, Michelin and Boeing — all consider getting their products rapidly and easily out of the Port of Charleston and to the rest of the world vital to their decisions to locate in the state.

“This step makes us more competitive. This step attracts more investment and business to our state. Most important, our deepening project will bring economic success and opportunities to South Carolinians for decades to come,” South Carolina Ports CEO Barbara Melvin said.

Monday’s ceremony also included a nod to former Democratic President Barack Obama for supporting federal money for the nearly $600 million project after state lawmakers offered $300 million up front in the early 2010s.

The state money was vital because it let federal officials know how serious South Carolina was on expanding the Port of Charleston, U.S. Sen. Lindsay Graham said.

Monday’s ceremony ended with Graham pulling a switch that signaled a dredge just offshore of Mount Pleasant’s Memorial Waterfront Park to send a stream of water and silt into the air as the final yard of material.

Melvin promised jars of that valuable sea floor to the dignitaries at the event.

Graham said South Carolina’s unprecedented growth since BMW came here 30 years ago couldn’t have continued without the project.

“The economy of South Carolina would have hit a brick wall,” Graham said. “We’re going to celebrate the most consequential seven feet in the history of South Carolina.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Eggs are displayed on store shelves at a local grocery store in Chandler, Ariz., Jan. 21, 20...
Associated Press

FACT FOCUS: Egg shortage breeds chicken-feed conspiracies

Social media users claim to have found a new culprit for sky-high egg prices: chicken feed. The theory gained steam on Facebook, TikTok and Twitter in recent weeks, with some users reporting that their hens stopped laying eggs and speculating that common chicken feed products were the cause. Some went a step further to suggest […]
19 hours ago
Associated Press

Ransomware attacks in Europe target old VMware, agencies say

ROME (AP) — Cybersecurity agencies in Europe are warning of ransomware attacks exploiting a 2-year-old computer bug as Italy experienced widespread internet outages. The Italian premier’s office said Sunday night the attacks affecting computer systems in the country involved “ransomware already in circulation” in a product made by cloud technology provider VMware. A Friday technical […]
19 hours ago
FILE - A fuel trucks drives along a highway in Frankfurt, Germany, Jan. 27, 2023. European Union go...
Associated Press

Europe bans Russian diesel, other oil products over Ukraine

The new sanctions create uncertainty about prices as the 27-nation European Union finds new supplies of diesel from the U.S., Middle East and India.
19 hours ago
FILE - Visitors arrive at the Adventureland Park amusement park, July 6, 2021, in Altoona, Iowa. On...
Associated Press

Ride at Iowa amusement park where boy died will never reopen

ALTOONA, Iowa (AP) — The ride at an Iowa amusement park where an 11-year-old boy was killed in 2021 will never reopen, the park’s owners said. Bill Lentz, Adventureland’s general manager, said in a letter posted on the park’s website Friday that after spending months reviewing the safety of the Raging River ride, officials decided […]
19 hours ago
East Palestine resident Kathy Burr waits for help at the Norfolk Southern Assistance Center at the ...
Associated Press

Safety Board: Mechanical defect caused Ohio train wreck

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (AP) — A mechanical issue with a rail car axle caused the fiery derailment of dozens of freight cars in Ohio near the Pennsylvania state line Friday night, federal investigators announced Sunday. The smoldering tangle of cars, some carrying hazardous materials, kept an evacuation order in effect. Michael Graham, a board member […]
19 hours ago
This image released by Universal Pictures shows Dave Bautista, from left, Abby Quinn, and Nikki Amu...
Associated Press

‘Knock at the Cabin’ knocks off ‘Avatar’ at the box office

NEW YORK (AP) — For the first time in almost two months, the box office doesn’t belong to blue people. After seven weeks as the top film in theaters, “Avatar: The Way of Water” was finally knocked out of the No. 1 spot by the M. Night Shyamalan thriller “Knock at the Cabin” and the […]
19 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Company looking for oldest air conditioner and wants to reward homeowner with new one

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
South Carolina celebrates deepening of Charleston’s port