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Most Sunday mornings since August of 2003, I have taken a set of photos of the new Ravenel Bridge (Cooper River Bridge), in order for my grandkids to watch the progress of the project (from Nashville, Tn, Louisville, Ky and Easton Pa). From time to time a cargo ship is being loaded, which occured next to where I took my photos. So I started making some studies of cargo ship loading and unloading. Here are a few photos and quick time videos of what I observed.

The action is not only in the still photos but in short video clips. Below is a sample of loading and unloading segments I captured while I was watching the building of the Ravenel Bridge.

Video From November and December 2003:

Loading during 2005:

Jan 18 Loading For another 1 minute video of tugs turning a cargo ship:

May 30 Docking: Use the vertical supports of the new bridge ramp to measure movement of the cargo ship as it is pushed (by tug) up to the dock.

Click on the image for the full presentation

October 12, 2003: Delivery of additional loaders

A view of the growing bridge pylons

April 2, 2005: A view of the loading machines - not unlike a small herd of camels

Maersk Sealand Shipping

Passing in the day: Incoming and Outgoing Ships

Evergreen Shipping

Before passing under the old bridge
After passing under the old bridge

A little more after
Even more after

Finished Passing Under the Old Cooper River Bridge

Automated Loading and Unloading in Action

The Charleston Harbor, site of great activity for loading and unloading cargo ships, is located next to the Cooper River Bridge. The bridge crosses the Cooper River, a major shipping lane for the Port of Charleston. Here is a view of loading a ship and a movie (quicktime) of the loading and unloading process.

Left: attaching a (blue)cargo container for loading. Right: About a minute later, the (blue) cargo container is being positioned on the ship. Click image for a full frame

A quiet helper

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Attribution: C. Frank Starmer from