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 January 18.  The changes result in uniform processes and operations across all container terminals in the Port of Charleston.

Beginning 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

With the single-gate system, all container yards will operate under the SCSPA’s ‘common use’ model.  Previous ‘licensed user’ arrangements (APM/Maersk, Ceres/Evergreen and Ceres/CKYH) will end and these clients will be incorporated into the new common gate operation.

Charleston Gate will staff inbound and outbound truck gates with members of International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) Local 1771, who currently man licensed user gates, and ILA Local 1422A will continue to provide on-terminal container and chassis maintenance services.

Private companies will continue to provide vessel stevedoring using ILA Local 1422 labor, and SCSPA employees will continue to operate all container-lifting equipment in the yard and on the dock and will manage all storage yards.

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.