NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- History was made at the Charleston Harbor on Friday. The brand new Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal welcomed it’s first cargo ship, the Yorktown Express.
The port’s namesake, former state senator Hugh Leatherman, was there to celebrate the occasion with a nautical tradition: breaking a champagne bottle.
SC Ports’ leaders say this addition is a historic milestone that’s been nearly 20 years in the making.
“This is huge for our team, this is huge for the state. For me, you know, I never thought this day would come,” says Butch Weber, SC Ports’ General Manager of Project Management and Construction.
The completion of this new terminal comes right after a record-breaking month for the ports. Officials say the Leatherman Terminal is going to increase their capacity by more than 700,000 container units.
“It’s a billion dollar capitol investment — more than a billion dollars that’s coming to fruition just at the right time,” says C.O.O. Barbara Melvin.
With the addition of more cranes, more capacity, and more cargo coming to this port, SC Ports’ predicts they will continue to grow. In fact, a study by the University of South Carolina predicts and additional $63.4 billion in annual economic impact for the next 2 decades.
“The name of the game for ports is capacity,” says Melvin, “the world really needs that kind of capacity in the supply chain and we’re opening it.”
Construction of Phase 2 of the Leatherman Terminal is already in progress.