SC Ports’ Leatherman Terminal recognized as ‘South Carolina Project of the Year’

July 1, 2021

South Carolina Ports’ Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal has been named 2021 South Carolina Project of the Year by the South Carolina Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

This prestigious award recognizes the complex engineering and construction process behind the Leatherman Terminal’s Phase One, and it celebrates the extensive collaboration among numerous partners needed to realize the $1 billion project.

The state-of-the-art container terminal can efficiently work the biggest ships calling on East Coast ports. Phase One was completed on budget and ahead of schedule. The terminal handled its first container on March 30 and welcomed its first vessel on April 9.

Project partners had to navigate challenging site conditions and oversee a complicated project while managing multiple contracts and hundreds of people working on the site every day.

The SC Ports’ engineering team worked with many contractors, including primary contract holders HDR Inc., Banks Construction Co., Samet Corp., Cape Romain/McLean A Joint Venture and Cape Romain Contractors Inc., as well as many South Carolina-based secondary contractors.

Many efforts contributed to the success of the project and the opening of Phase One, including SC Ports’ clear vision of its needs and priorities, and a collaborative spirit that encouraged innovation among all partners working on the site.

Additional strategies proved to be critical to project success, such as:

  • A design and contracting strategy that prioritized local participation, with more than 80% of the dollars spent on construction contracts being awarded to S.C.-based firms.
  • Value engineering at the beginning of the construction process that discovered tens of millions of dollars in savings.
  • A risk management process that anticipated and proactively managed obstacles.

Leatherman Terminal strengthens SC Ports’ big-ship capabilities and adds 700,000 TEUs of throughput capacity. Its equipment, technology and design provide reliable, efficient service to customers.

The 1,400-foot berth can handle a 20,000-TEU vessel. Five electric ship-to-shore cranes with 169 feet of lift height and 228 feet of outreach stand on the wharf.

The 25 hybrid rubber-tired gantry cranes and eight empty container handlers efficiently move cargo boxes around the terminal. The rubber-tired gantry cranes are designed to reduce emissions and energy consumption. A six-acre refrigerated cargo area includes six-story tall, refrigerated container racks, enabling SC Ports to handle more refrigerated and frozen goods.

At full buildout, the $2 billion Leatherman Terminal will have three berths and 286 acres, adding 2.4 million TEUs and doubling current port capacity.

SC Ports’ Leatherman Terminal will have lasting positive impacts on the maritime community and state. It greatly enhances South Carolina’s supply chain and serves S.C. businesses, distribution centers, mega retailers and advanced manufacturers.

SC Ports is an economic engine for South Carolina, and Phase One of the Leatherman Terminal will attract more businesses and create additional jobs in South Carolina for generations to come.

About South Carolina Ports Authority

South Carolina Ports Authority, established by the state’s General Assembly in 1942, owns and operates public seaport and intermodal facilities in Charleston, Dillon, Georgetown and Greer. As an economic development engine for the state, Port operations facilitate 225,000 statewide jobs and generate nearly $63.4 billion in annual economic activity. SC Ports is soon to be home to the deepest harbor on the U.S. East Coast at 52 feet. SC Ports is an industry leader in delivering speed-to-market, seamless processes and flexibility to ensure reliable operations, big ship handling, efficient market reach and environmental responsibility. Please visit to learn more about SC Ports.