SC ports invests $17M in new terminal operating system

CHARLESTON, SC (SPA) - The South Carolina State Ports Authority is investing $17.3 million in a new terminal operating system to enhance cargo visibility and customer service, the SPA reported Tuesday.

The SCSPA Board Tuesday approved a contract for up to $8.35 million with Zebra Enterprise Solutions, implementing the Navis SPARCS N4 terminal operating system to manage cargo flows across its marine terminals.

In addition, the SCSPA will spend up to $8.95 million on hardware, licenses and other projects related to the implementation.

The first contract is for the software and gate systems, which will allow the SCSPA to develop a single, centralized processing center for all gate moves.  This upgrade will reportedly reduce processing times, reduce errors, and increase gate productivity while standardizing procedures at its terminals.

The SCSPA chose Navis SPARCS N4 to replace its mature in-house systems primarily to bring on a proven, robust, commercially-supported terminal operating system.  While the Navis TOS has been implemented at 260 sites globally, the SCSPA will become the first port operator in North America to manage Navis SPARCS N4 from a central location across multiple sites.

The goal is to offer a single point-of-entry to customers across all terminals.

"Improving cargo visibility, accuracy and productivity will benefit companies choosing the Port of Charleston and Georgetown," said Jim Newsome, SCSPA president & CEO.  "Charleston has a global reputation for productivity and the deepest channels in the Southeast, routinely handling big ships up to 48 feet in draft.  This will enhance South Carolina's position as the preferred place to do business."

The web-based SPARCS N4 operating system governs the movement of container logistics and operations and offers users improved customer support, lower operating costs and increased utilization.

According to the agency, SCSPA customers should start to enjoy the benefits of migration to SPARCS N4, including centralized visibility of information, as well as enhanced communication with the SCSPA via web-based electronic data interchange.

Implementation will begin in February, with the involvement of the local maritime transportation industry.