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Ports authority moves forward on gate system in North Charleston

Distribution & Logistics
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The S.C. State Ports Authority voted Thursday to allocate $4.43 million to install the Advanced Gate System at the North Charleston Terminal, and to finalize the system at the Wando Welch terminal in Mount Pleasant.


FY17 results so far

Percent change from Q1 2016

Total TEUs



Pier containers



Charleston breakbulk cargo






Cruise passengers



Operating revenues

$55.3 million


Operating expenses

$43.9 million


Operating earnings

$11.4 million


    Source: S.C. State
Ports Authority

The Advanced Gate System changes the way trucks carrying cargo are processed at port terminals. It involves new truck portals that take pictures of the trucks for faster inspections; a centralized processing area where port workers verify the cargo from images on their computers; and new gate kiosks where drivers enter a customized gate code.

It is designed to speed the check-in process and turn times, or the amount of time drivers spend inside a terminal. The port plans to implement the new system at the North Charleston terminal by February.

The system began at the Wando terminal in June, which was followed by intermittent traffic backups, software crashes and frustration from the truck drivers. Turn times have since improved as the software and process have stabilized.

The port board originally approved the work in September 2010. Since then, more funding has been needed to accommodate changes, as well as to expand the project’s scope to include the S.C. Inland Port in Greer, where the system was implemented in May.

Fiscal year 2017 port results

For fiscal 2017, nearly 690,000 TEUs — a common industry measurement representing a 20-foot equivalent of a shipping container — came through the port, up 1.7% from the same time a year ago. The port handled around 170,000 TEUs in October.

Around 96,000 pier containers, or boxes of any size, came through the port in October, up about 3% from the same period last fiscal year.

Reach Liz Segrist at 843-849-3119.

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