The Port of Charleston will move to a single-gate operating system on Jan. 18 to streamline operations, the South Carolina State Ports Authority said Wednesday.
The changes will result in uniform processes and operations across the port's three container terminals, the Wando Welch Terminal, the Columbus Street Terminal and the North Charleston Terminal, which all operate separate gates at present.
Starting Tuesday, Jan. 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.
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At the same time, the SCSPA will assume management and operation of all container storage yards and leads all customer service functions in both the yard and the lanes.
The SCSPA said this public-private partnership with Charleston Gate will simplify and consolidate all gate and terminal processes. Charleston will now have common hours of operations, cargo cutoffs, holidays and procedures at its container terminals.
The port authority said the new common gate will offer a number of advantages:
-- extended gate hours to all gates at all terminals (7 a.m. - 6 p.m. port-wide).
-- standardized port operations at all terminals.
-- boosts port capacity by at least 10 percent.
-- customer access to the SCSPA's information systems.
With the single-gate system, all container yards will operate under the SCSPA's "common use" model. Previous "licensed user" arrangements, including 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 Local 1771, who currently serve at 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 SCSPA also plans to implement a new $17 million terminal operating system in February, part of which is a centralized gate processing center for gate staff. The SCSPA said shippers will benefit from reduced processing times, improved accuracy and increased gate productivity through standardized procedures across all terminals.
-- Contact Peter T. Leach at email@example.com.