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Port Of Charleston Reopens After ‘Software Issue’

More problems for beleaguered facility …

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South Carolina’s much-maligned Port of Charleston is back in business after a supposed “software issue” shuttered the struggling facility for nearly two full days.

According to an update issued by the S.C. State Ports Authority (SCSPA) on Tuesday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. EDT, “gate and yard operations” were back online and gates were once again “open.” A subsequent update five-and-a-half hours later announced that “operations have resumed at all marine terminals” but that one of two “inland ports” was still awaiting a resumption of “cargo pick up (and) drop offs.”

As of this writing, there is no updated on the status of SCSPA’s inland port in Dillon, S.C.

SCSPA officials – several of whom were reportedly on vacation at the time of this “software” snafu – first alerted the public to the problem at 7:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday. According to the initial update, the delay in operations was supposed to be “temporary” and only last until 10:00 a.m. EDT on Monday.

By close of business Monday, however, port officials were still “working diligently to reintroduce systems following a vendor software issue that impacted a server,” describing the situation as “fluid.”

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Clearly the problem was much bigger than port officials acknowledged, which has many on the Charleston waterfront questioning the official narrative from this historically mismanaged government agency.

“They are swearing no cyber attack,” one waterfront insider told this media outlet. “I have my doubts.”

“Initial findings show that a software issue impacted a server,” the agency claimed. “This does not appear to be a cybersecurity issue.”

It’s already been a difficult year for SCSPA – which has seen its competitive position collapse over the last two decades. Once the nation’s fourth-busiest port, Charleston now rarely ranks among the top ten – and is consistently crushed by the booming Port of Savannah.

The latest blow to befall Charleston? A major victory by organized labor – which won the right to operate all ship-to-shore cranes and all “RTG” cranes, or “rubber-tryed gantry” cranes at the SCSPA’s new Hugh K. Leatherman terminal. Readers of this media outlet will recall we covered this saga extensively over the last few years – noting how this costly new maritime facility was withering on the vine in the face of a boycott led by organized labor. 

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RELATED | TWIN BLOWS BEFALL PORT OF CHARLESTON

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The bigger problem? Political appointees running SCSPA have failed to address regional infrastructure challenges – specifically a lack of road and rail access to port facilities and a lack of waterfront space for new port operations in Charleston harbor. As S.C. senator Tom Davis has frequently (and accurately) pointed out, South Carolina’s politicians and port leaders continue “shoehorning additional capacity” into Charleston – even though it clearly won’t fit in this rapidly growing population center.

Traffic is already a disaster in and around Charleston – and on Interstate 26 – do these leaders really think it can absorb any more port traffic?

Meanwhile, these same government-appointed bureaucrats have steadfastly refused to develop the nation’s last deepwater port location in Jasper County, S.C. – where waterfront space is readily available – despite pledging twenty years ago to devote the “full faith and credit” of the state to the task.

My media outlet has consistently called on “Republican” leaders in the Palmetto State to abandon the current port management model – in which political appointees call the shots – and replace it with a landlord-tenant arrangement. Under this structure, the state would retain ownership of vital port assets – but private sector firms would manage them. Such a change would free up hundreds of millions of dollars for long-overdue infrastructure enhancement (and reprioritization) – including the proposed Jasper facility.

Sadly, “limited government” politicians in Columbia, S.C. refuse to surrender their stranglehold on this asset.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

(Travis Bell Photography)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina and before that he was a bass guitarist and dive bar bouncer. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and eight children.

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