French high-voltage cable maker Nexans is getting ready to build a shipping terminal at its site along the Cooper River as part of the plant's expansion to build cables for underwater use.
Nexans filed a permit application last week with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build the terminal off Bushy Park Road at the Charleston International Manufacturing Center.
The proposed work consists of building a pile-supported concrete wharf, a second mooring berth and a loading platform. The work also includes dredging about 80,000 cubic yards of material for the berthing areas and a turning basin and placing a riprap retaining wall along the shoreline.
Cable-laying ships will load up at the terminal before heading to offshore projects. Nexans is building a second cable-laying vessel for use at the site and to accommodate growth in the underwater cable market.
The dredged material would be transported to a barge that will be towed to a temporary stockpile location on the Nexans site. Once the material dries, it will be transferred to a disposal area off Primus Ferry Road.
Nexans also is asking for a 10-year permit that would allow maintenance dredging to take place within the 19.85-acre site. The company said such dredging would be required no more than twice during the 10-year period.
Nexans announced an $80 million expansion a year ago that will allow the plant to make both underwater and land-based cable.
"Nexans is investing here because the submarine market is exploding — both in North America and globally,” Brian Boan, director of transformation projects for Nexans, said when the expansion was announced.
The underwater cables are used in the offshore oil and gas sectors, for electrical connections to islands and between countries and for offshore wind installations.
Nexans will add 125,000 square feet of space to its 350,000-square-foot plant at Bushy Park. The site's workforce will double to roughly 135 employees by the time the expansion is completed.
Christopher Guerin, CEO of Nexans, told analysts during a conference call in February the expansion "is ongoing and well underway."
Production of the underwater cable is similar to the land-based cables, which are used in underground power installations. The process typically involves a copper conductor capable of handling up to 525 kilovolts being lowered into a 426-foot-tall tower where it is encased in melted plastic and then cured and cooled with nitrogen.
The site plans to build up to 155 miles of underwater cable each year when manufacturing begins in 2020, serving markets around the globe as production ramps up to 24 hours a day.
The Goose Creek site will be Nexans’ only underwater cable manufacturing site in North America. Currently, the company builds underwater power cables at its Calais, France, headquarters and at a plant in Halden, Norway.
A company that makes injection molding machines for the plastics industry has opened a 116,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution center at Mount Holly Commerce Park off U.S. Highway 52 near Moncks Corner.
Absolute Haitian, part of Chinese machinery maker Haitian International Holdings, said the new site will be able to assemble and test large-tonnage machines and store stock machines and aftermarket parts. About 16,000 square feet will be used for a training center, engineering offices and sales offices.
"The expansion of the automotive sector, presence of white goods manufacturing and fast regional growth in the southeast were major considerations" for the company's site selection, said Absolute Haitian co-owner Nate Smith.
The company invested $14 million in the site, which will create 51 jobs. Berkeley County officials previously approved tax incentives for the company, once known by its "Project Omaha" code name.
Absolute Haitian purchased its 21-acre site for $834,000 in August 2017, county records show.