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SC Ports to buy WestRock site to expand port capacity at North Charleston Terminal

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In a move supported by the state and unanimously approved by the SC Ports board of directors, SC Ports is set to purchase the former WestRock paper mill site in North Charleston, further bolstering port capacity at the Port of Charleston.

The SC Ports board of directors voted today to proceed with a purchase sales agreement with WestRock, with the transaction expected to close promptly.

Photo/SC Ports/Matthew Peacock

Barbara Melvin, president and CEO of SC Ports, expressed enthusiasm for the partnership with WestRock and the backing from the state, highlighting the investment’s significance for South Carolina’s economy and future opportunities. The acquisition of the approximately 280-acre industrial waterfront property adjacent to North Charleston Terminal will serve as a natural extension, enabling SC Ports to handle increased cargo for port-dependent businesses.

Plans include expanding the terminal’s capacity to accommodate up to 5 million containers in the future, along with creating extensive linear berth space for container ships and ample terminal space for cargo, spanning around 400 acres.

Melvin emphasized the importance of modernizing the existing North Charleston Terminal with optimized layout, upgraded cargo-handling equipment, and increased container capacity, ensuring enhanced port service reliability and productivity.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation plays a crucial role in the project, with plans to replace the Don Holt Bridge as part of the Interstate 526 expansion, removing height constraints for larger vessels.

Additionally, efforts are underway to deepen the Cooper River by five feet, complementing the new bridge height and allowing seamless access for the largest container ships calling the Port of Charleston to North Charleston Terminal.

The acquisition also aligns with the needs of Ingevity Corporation’s North Charleston manufacturing facility, with SC Ports collaborating closely with Ingevity to ensure a smooth transition.

Bill Stern, SC Ports board chairman, emphasized the significance of the expansion in supporting South Carolina’s economy, noting that port infrastructure investments directly benefit numerous companies reliant on SC Ports for business operations.

Elected leaders, including Governor Henry McMaster, SC House Speaker Murrell Smith, Senator Larry Grooms, and Representative Bruce Bannister, echoed sentiments of support, emphasizing the investment’s positive impact on economic growth and job creation in South Carolina.

Partners, including WestRock, Ingevity Corporation, and SC Department of Transportation, expressed enthusiasm for the partnership and its potential to drive economic growth and infrastructure enhancements for the benefit of South Carolina’s citizens.

The acquisition marks a significant milestone in SC Ports’ strategic growth initiatives, positioning the port system and the state competitively for long-term success.

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