Heavylift / Breakbulk
Close to setting a new handling record
The South Carolina Ports Authority, which is in charge of the port of Charleston SC, recently handled a very significant heavylift project. The consignments concerned contained a Westinghouse Electric Company steam generator being shipped to the South Carolina Electric & Gas Company’s Virgil C. Summer nuclear power station, where it was needed for the expansion of the plant.
The South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA), with the support of the German heavylift shipping line BBC Chartering, recently handled an energy project move that came close to setting a new port record. One of the heaviest such moves ever to take place in the South Carolinan port of Charleston saw an 680 t generator unloaded from the BBC Aquamarine. The equipment consisted of a steam generator of the Westinghouse Electric Company (a firm in the Toshiba Corporation) destined for a South Carolina Electric & Gas Company nuclear power plant expansion project taking place about 20 km from Columbia SC.
From ship to shore
The line, which was asked to carry out the waterborne leg of the transport, deployed the BBC Aquamarine for the task, one of its modern heavylift freighters which sails under the flag of the West Indian islands-state of Antigua and Barbuda. The 14,800 dwt vessel can lift 800 t and thus provided the capacity needed to manage the heavylift transport assignment from Doosan (South Korea) to Charleston SC. BBC Chartering operates nine vessels of this size.
After the equipment was discharged from the BBC Aquamarine the generator was loaded directly onto a Schnabel wagon, a specialised railcar designed to transport heavy and oversized loads. The 36-axle unit, one of the largest worldwide, hauled the equipment from Charleston to the Virgil C. Summer nuclear power station near Jenkinsville SC, where two nuclear power plants are under construction.
The SCPA said that it is scheduled to handle three additional steam generators of the same size in the course of next year. Jim Newsome, the SCPA’s president and CEO, added that «the project represents a significant contribution to the SCPA’s growth in the breakbulk segment, with the movement of such oversized cargo generally boosting the maritime and transport sectors in the region.»
The SCPA’s Columbus Street terminal was renovated in 2011. The measures broadened the facility’s on-dock railway forwarding and storage capabilities, as well as its heavylift and other breakbulk consignment capacities, including for cars and other rolling stock.