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Port gate issue attributed to power problems

Staff //February 13, 2020//

Port gate issue attributed to power problems

Staff //February 13, 2020//

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A technical issue that delayed the opening of the gates at the Wando Welch and North Charleston terminals by about seven hours on Wednesday was because of power failures in the information technology system, port leadership said.

S.C. Ports Authority COO Barbara Melvin said IT systems failure was discovered late Tuesday night. Both the primary and backup power systems for a server failed within four hours of each other, which Melvin said “is very, very unheard of.”

“Basically a gatekeeper server prevented us from being able to talk to other servers that hold the mission-critical components of our gate system,” Melvin said.

She added that problem was strictly power-related and no outside interference was involved.

The decision to delay the gates’ opening was made around 3:30 a.m., Melvin said, to allow enough time to communicate with carriers that use the port. The IT systems failure had no impact on vessels arriving or departing the Port of Charleston.

The gates were reopened shortly after noon Wednesday and remained open until midnight in order to provide carriers with the same number of gate hours in the day.

The main delay in reopening the gates, Melvin said, was getting a required new part to the port’s data center.

The port plans to further diagnose what went wrong and put mitigation plans in place to avoid a recurrence of the problem.

“These types of things happen with IT systems,” Melvin said. “You’ve just got to have the best plan in place possible.”