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South Carolina Ports Agency Undertakes Precautions to Safeguard BMW Exports from Flooding

Port flood protection measures.

South Carolina Ports Agency Undertakes Precautions to Safeguard BMW Exports from Flooding

In an effort to safeguard South Carolina-made BMW vehicles stored at the flood-prone Columbus Street Terminal in Charleston, the South Carolina State Ports Authority (SPA) is devising methods to prevent water damage that hundreds of cars encountered in December at the agency’s nearby cruise terminal. Both terminals, susceptible to flooding during mighty rainstorms and king tides, are located along the Cooper River.

Provisions to Fight Off Flooding

A week before Christmas, it was reported that a storm had flooded the Union Pier Terminal’s parking lot, damaging passengers’ cars parked at the site. So far, the SPA and BMW have not disclosed whether any automobiles, manufactured by the German automaker at its Upstate facility, and awaiting export at the Columbus Street Terminal, suffered similar damage.

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This month, the SPA board greenlit the allocation of nearly $2 million to facilitate the paving of 18 acres at the Leatherman Terminal in North Charleston. This is intended to serve as an alternate storage site where BMWs can be shifted when a formidable storm is anticipated. This backup storage area will be stationed behind the existing container yard, so it will not be exposed to the waterfront.

Engineered Measures with a Hint of Urgency

This initiative “needs to be enacted in short order,” according to Walter Lagarenne, the SPA’s vice president of engineering and facilities. The plan is anticipated to reach completion by the end of May. As per a University of Tennessee study, it has been approximated that an 18-acre parking area could typically house between 2,700 to 2,900 vehicles, the number changing based on its configuration.

In addition to paving a new area, the SPA is progressively undertaking a series of actions to shield BMW vehicles and other export automobiles at both Leatherman and Columbus Street terminals. The steps include installing tidal valves, procuring pumps to help discharge water from the low-lying terminal’s parking area, conducting a survey of the site to recognize the zones where flooding is more likely to take place and then marking them to prevent vehicle storage, and purchasing AquaDams, which are temporary, removable barriers capable of controlling or diverting water away from the cars.

Safeguarding Investments on Both Ends

“The state has invested a great deal in the automotive sector, and automakers have invested significantly in growing operations here,” stated Barbara Melvin, the SPA’s president and CEO. She added that as a “critical supply chain partner for the automotive industry,” the S.C. Ports is “proactively investing in port infrastructure to provide the capacity and operational excellence” to support global supply chains of their clients.

BMW, in a statement, affirmed a “strong relationship” with the SPA and mentioned their eagerness to “work together to address any weather events”.


South Carolina Ports Agency Undertakes Precautions to Safeguard BMW Exports from Flooding

HERE Irmo
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