SC Ports Authority CEO apologizes for glitches in new gate system, truck drivers furious

VIDEO: SC Ports Authority CEO apologizes for glitches in new gate system, truck drivers furious

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The advanced gate system, fully implemented at the Wando Welch Port terminal in Mount Pleasant Monday, has caused traffic nightmares along I-526.

"There's a learning curve for everybody," SC Ports Authority CEO and President Jim Newsome said. "That's nobody's fault. The truckers have to learn. Our folks using the system have to learn."

Newsome said the implementation of the new system has seen software bugs, but every day it gets better.

"I think overtime it will allow us to be more efficient in what we're doing, but any new technology in the port industry tends to have some short term disruptions," Newsome said.

In the meantime, he knows it's a big inconvenience.

"What I want to say to them is I'm sorry number one," Newsome said. "We're working hard on it and we're going to resolve it."

Truck drivers, on the other hand, are frustrated.

"Please input the old system," one SC truck driver said. "It worked. It just worked."

This driver wanted to remain anonymous, but wanted his voice heard.

"We're just fed up at the way we've been treated because we shouldn't have to wait that long," the driver said.

The traffic back-up on I-526 has forced truck drivers, who are only legally allowed to work 11 hours a day, to spend a chunk of that time stuck in traffic, keeping them from doing completing their daily work. 
He admitted Wednesday was better than Tuesday.

"It got in a little bit faster," he said. "I guess you could say three hours is better than five."

The major changes with advanced gate system include required gate codes from truck drivers.

When drivers don't have the code, they have to call their dispatchers to get it. That clogs the system.

"3,000 missions Tuesday, 600 trucks showed up with no gate code," Newsome said.

The new system also has a different inspection system that allows trucks to checked-out remotely from a private room, called the kitchen, not physically.

Newsome said the new system was introduced in Greer, a terminal that doesn't see the volume seen at the Wando Welch facility, and there weren't many issues.

Therefore, the glitches experienced this week were unexpected.

"We've got to overcome it," Newsome said. "We will overcome it."

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