Port of Charleston cargo record

The State Ports Authority says it handled a record number of cargo containers in calendar year 2016. File/Staff

The three-day journey of a 1.4 million pound nuclear generator from the Port of Charleston to Jenkinsville north of Columbia is documented on a new video released by Westinghouse Nuclear.

The nearly seven-minute video — it can be viewed at http://tinyurl.com/pkom4g7 at NuclearStreet.com — includes news about the nuclear energy industry.

Westinghouse had to bring its 36-axle “schnabel” rail car to the Columbus Street Terminal in Charleston to haul the behemoth cargo to the new reactors being added to the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station by Cayce-based South Carolina Electric & Gas and Moncks Corner-based Santee Cooper.

A schnabel is a special freight car built to haul heavy and oversized loads by rail.

Westinghouse owns the WECX-800 schnabel which, with a 345-foot maximum loaded length and a nearly 900-ton hauling capacity, is the largest rail car ever built. Plans for moving the steam generator “were years in the making,” according to a report on the NuclearStreet.com website.

“Engineers had to calculate the load capacity of every inch of track along the way and, it seems, they still held their breath going through curves,” the website states.

The South Korea-built generator arrived at the port in December and was loaded onto the schnabel car, where it sat in the Columbus Street railyard until its departure in early January.

The generator will be used in the first of two new AP-1000 nuclear power units being built at the Midlands site. The first of those units is scheduled for completion in late 2018 or early 2019, with the second following about a year later.

CaroTrans Global, a company that handles freight exports for contracting businesses, has started an expedited service between Le Havre, France, and the Port of Charleston.

This is the first “less-container load,” or LCL, service available between the two markets. LCL service is used when a business does not have enough cargo to fill an entire container. A freight forwarder, such as CaroTrans, combines cargo from several shippers to fill a container that is then shipped to a receiving port, where the freight forwarder sorts the cargo for delivery.

The transit time between Le Havre and Charleston is 12 days, with up to three additional days reserved for shipments to other ports in the South Atlantic region.

CaroTrans says the Le Havre departure point eliminates the congestion, delays and additional handling associated with routing via the Port of Antwerp in Belgium, one of the world’s largest ports. The Port of Le Havre lies along the English Channel on the western coast of France. It is France’s second-largest port behind Marseille.

Local CaroTrans teams are located at Le Havre and Charleston to provide support to customers in each area.

Charleston is CaroTrans’ third direct LCL import service from Le Havre. Services to Houston and New York are also offered. France is one of the six leading exporters in the world and trade represents more than 60 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. France’s main exports include powered aircraft, medicine, motor vehicles and automobile parts/accessories.

Reach David Wren at 937-5550 or on Twitter at @David_Wren_