Port of Charleston moves to single-gate system (update: causing major traffic snarls)

Image by Flickr user sabine01

Update January 19: The change in the Port's operating procedures, compounded with a three-day weekend that already backlogged shipping activity resulted in nightmare traffic situations in both North Charleston and Mount Pleasant yesterday.

According to the article in The Post and Courier, city officials were forced to close to trucks the Interstate 526 exits to Virginia and North Rhett avenues. And don't expect any relief today, traffic patterns are expected to remain strained all week.

Hop over to The Post and Courier for some incredible photographs of yesterday's traffic chaos.

First reporting: To meet the demands of its ocean carrier customers, the South Carolina State Ports Authority (SCSPA) is streamlining its container operations by moving to a single-gate operating system effective today.

Beginning on Tuesday, January 18, all container interchange lanes where trucks are checked in and out at the port’s three container terminals will be operated by Charleston Gate LLC, a company created by local stevedoring companies and contracting with the SCSPA.

At the same time, the SCSPA assumes management and operation of all container storage yards and leads all customer service functions in both the yard and the lanes.

This public-private partnership between the SCSPA and Charleston Gate will simplify and consolidate all gate and terminal processes. Charleston will now feature common hours of operations, cargo cutoffs, holidays and procedures at its container terminals.

The new common gate offers a number of advantages:

  • Provides simplicity to customers and other users
  • Brings extended gate hours to all gates at all terminals (7 am – 6 pm port-wide)
  • Harmonizes all facets of port operations at all terminals
  • Immediately boosts port capacity by at least 10 percent
  • Improves Charleston’s industry-leading productivity
  • Enhances management of container storage yards
  • Provides all customers access to the SCSPA’s information systems
  • Enables the Port of Charleston to better assimilate its customers’ future growth

The single gate system will be complemented further with the implementation of a new terminal operating system (TOS), part of which is a centralized gate processing center for gate staff.

Implementation of the new, $17-million TOS begins in February. Customers will benefit from reduced processing times, improved accuracy and increased gate productivity through standardized procedures across all terminals.

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