South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) is set to receive $49m in funding from the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to further support the deepening of Charleston Harbor.

Part of USACE’s Fiscal Year 18 Work Plan, the newly announced funding will help SCPA to deepen the harbour to 52ft to the Wando Welch Terminal.

The funding will be provided in addition to a $50m loan from the State of South Carolina, US.

Construction to deepen the Charleston Harbor Entrance Channel started in February this year after awarding the first two dredging contracts, worth $260m in total, by USACE.

Scheduled to be completed by 2021, the upgraded harbour will be able to accommodate 14,000 twenty-foot equivalent container unit (TEU) capacity vessels and more.

“The deepening of major US ports is a significant element of the overall investment thesis across the port industry nationwide.”

The Entrance Channel’s depth will be 54ft following the upgrade.

SCPA president and CEO Jim Newsome said: “The deepening of the Charleston Harbor is one of the most important strategic priorities for the State of South Carolina.

“The South East needs a 52ft harbour to efficiently handle the large container ships now calling the East Coast.

“There are four other harbours on our coast at 50ft of depth, and such large container ships call a network of ports.

“The deepening of major US ports is a significant element of the overall investment thesis across the port industry nationwide and, by 2021, SCPA and the state will have invested over $2bn in port infrastructure to support the growth of both population and manufacturing in South Carolina and the Southeast region.”

SCPA currently owns and operates public seaport facilities in Charleston, Dillon, Georgetown, and Greer in South Carolina, US.