SC Ports makes significant progress on fluidity, vessel queue

July 1, 2024

Three berths opening at Wando Welch Terminal, July 3-14 

With the support of the maritime community, South Carolina Ports is quickly working ships and reducing its vessel queue by implementing creative operational solutions and temporarily pausing toe wall construction for ocean carrier and cargo owner customers.

Operational solutions have already helped decrease both wait times and the number of ships waiting. SC Ports has three ships at anchor today, and this project pause will quickly and effectively work to further reduce vessel delays.

“Our SC Ports team and maritime partners are working together to ensure fluidity for our customers amid this critical infrastructure project,” SC Ports President and CEO Barbara Melvin said. “Our ability to provide creative solutions when challenges arise, along with the incredible support we receive from our customers, makes all the difference in navigating short-term supply chain challenges.”

SC Ports accommodating three ships at Wando Welch Terminal. (Photo/SCPA/Walter Lagarenne)

SC Ports has been working through a ship backlog, following a two-day software issue in May and ongoing berth impacts at Wando Welch Terminal related to toe wall construction along the wharf to maintain a 54-foot berth depth.

Beginning July 3, SC Ports will pause work on the toe wall project to reopen all three berths at Wando Welch Terminal through July 14. This pause in construction will enable SC Ports and the maritime community to work ships faster and work through the remaining anchorage in support of ocean carrier customers and shippers.

SC Ports expects to work ships on arrival by mid-July. As the toe wall construction resumes going into August, a 48-hour average wait is anticipated.

SC Ports anticipates working three ships simultaneously at Wando Welch Terminal in late fall ahead of the project completion, which is slated for March 2025. The planned reopening of Leatherman Terminal will also soon provide an additional berth for ocean carriers to call at the Port of Charleston.

Carriers have been taking advantage of every operational measure put into place to quickly work ships, including start times at 0100, 0700, 0800, 1300, 1900; the flexibility to call on either Wando Welch or North Charleston terminals; and virtual queue times in which SC Ports communicates with ocean carriers about estimated berthing times to avoid long waits.

“Our ocean carrier partners are seeing positive effects of the measures we have implemented, and cargo customers appreciate the restoration of regular calls and services,” SC Ports’ Chief Commercial Officer Byron Miller said.

Construction of the toe wall began in March 2024. The work of installing steel sheets along the wharf is done in sections, allowing SC Ports to accommodate three ships at the terminal for most of the spring. As work progressed down the wharf, only two berths were available, causing longer wait times for vessels.

“We have proactively worked with our ocean carrier customers, as well as our maritime partners and logistics providers, to provide solutions,” Miller said. “We appreciate the confidence, support and encouragement from our customers as we navigate these challenges. We will continue delivering the superior service they have come to expect from us.”


About South Carolina Ports

South Carolina Ports owns and operates marine terminals at the Port of Charleston and two rail-served inland ports in Greer and Dillon. As the 8th largest U.S. container port, SC Ports connects port-dependent businesses throughout the Southeast and beyond to global markets. SC Ports proactively invests in infrastructure ahead of demand to provide reliable service, efficient operations, cargo capacity, an expansive rail network and the deepest harbor on the East Coast at 52 feet. SC Ports is a vital economic engine for South Carolina, with port operations supporting 1 in 9 jobs statewide. Learn more: