South Carolina ports officials admitted Monday that problems with a new gate system are to blame for major traffic jams caused by hundreds of trucks waiting to enter the Port of Charleston. The State Ports Authority said in a release Monday that serious delays continue as it processes trucks with a new Advanced Gate System at its Wando Welch Terminal.
Ports Authority spokesman Clint Eisenhauer said the new system will eventually create a quicker flow for trucks. But he said staff and drivers are having to learn how to use it in addition to software problems at the Mount Pleasant terminal.
“Anytime you have a new system like this, there is some degree of human interaction that’s required,” he told South Carolina Radio Network. “Sometimes that takes a little bit of getting used to. But there’s also, at this point, we’re running into some software glitches that have come under light at full production capacity like we’re experiencing (Monday).”
By Monday evening, Ports Authority officials were strongly encouraging truckers to avoid Wando Welch for the rest of the day so the gate could process trucks through 7 p.m. Dry bulk (non-container) cargo could arrive between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. “We are continuing to work through the system issues as quickly as possible to restore normal operations,” the agency said in its request.
He said the new system actually debuted on Saturday, but Monday was the first day at full capacity. Training with the Advanced Gate System has been ongoing since June 6 and trucking companies were aware of the changes, he added.
Eisenhauer said the new system is designed to give truck drivers better insight into the routes they will be taking and cargo they will be carrying once they pass inside the gates.