SC Steamship Terminal Construction Contracts to Be Advertised in 2007

Wed August 30, 2006 - Southeast Edition

CHARLESTON, SC (AP) Permits for a new State Ports Authority steamship terminal at the old Charleston Naval Base are expected next spring.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said a final environmental impact statement on 280-acre container terminal is expected to be released this December.

Issues concerning an access road to the port, state permits and right whales must first be addressed.

The draft environmental impact statement released last October noted northern right whales are “occasionally found offshore as individuals transit the coast toward their winter calving grounds.”

It noted the whales are the world’s most endangered large whale but have never been sighted in the Cooper River “as it would be a very unlikely choice for a calving female seeking a peaceful nursery area.”

It said while the project itself would have no effect on the whales, the whales with their calves do transit the offshore area leading into Charleston.

The terminal will include more than 3,500 ft. of berths and is expected to take approximately six years to build. Contracts for site preparation and stabilization are expected to be advertised next year, the authority announced.

Meanwhile, the authority awarded a contract for soil analysis at the site of another proposed terminal on the Savannah River in Jasper County. The $330,000 contract went to S&ME of Charleston.

Jasper County and the State Ports Authority have been battling over who has the right to develop the property, which is owned by the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Earlier this year, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that while Jasper County has a right to develop a port, the State Ports Authority has priority over the land. Both sides claimed victory with the decision.

New port space is needed as the authority outgrows its existing container terminals in the Charleston area.