The South Carolina State Ports Authority (SCSPA) is pleased by the results of Panama’s vote on Oct. 22 to support a $5.25-billion improvement plan for the Panama Canal.

Upon completion, the new eight-year construction project will allow the Panama Canal to handle larger ships and more vessel transits.

The SCSPA watched the referendum on improvements to the Panama Canal with great interest. Charleston is home to a number of investments that allow it to handle post-Panamax ships, including a new $635-million bridge over the main channel, harbor deepening to -45’ at mean low water and new super post-Panamax container cranes.

Today, Charleston is only able to handle post-Panamax ships in the trans-Atlantic and trans-Suez services. ‘With an improved canal, the options expand ’ both for us and for our customers,’ said Bernard S. Groseclose Jr., president and CEO of the SCSPA.

‘The Port of Charleston sees the Panama Canal expansion proposal as a very aggressive plan and a very positive plan,’ said Groseclose.

Charleston’s business through the Panama Canal consists predominantly of ships calling from Asia in all-water services across the Pacific, as well as ships in the West Coast of South America trade.