The South Carolina Port Authority (SCPA) is making moves to get ahead of the game. They’ve announced several key strategies they’ll be implementing to mitigate peak season disruptions and avoid the debilitating congestion the ports suffered in the early part of the year.
The SCPA reports: “SC Ports has moved roughly 2.7 million TEUs thus far in the fiscal year 2022, from July through May, up 15% fiscal year-over-year.” The SCPA doesn’t expect that to ease any time soon.
One of the anchor points to their strategy is as simple as extending gate hours and being open on Sunday. South Carolina Port Authority Chief Operating Officer Barbara Melvin had this to say about the move: “Our gates on Sundays are one-eighth of [the volume that] we see during the normal week, but I think it’s our job to be the person that’s not selfish in this whole relationship of fluidity because if we don’t offer Sunday hours, then it’s absolutely going to be a problem on Monday.”
Another prong of the innovative strategy is to lease chassis to customers, which will save them time trying to find available transportation. The SCPA is also launching its own proprietary chassis pool, which will give them more elasticity, and more control. Their chassis will not only be leased to customers but will be utilized in their Rapid Rail Program, which moves cargo between the port and the rail ramps.
The SCPA is also using this downtime before the peak hits to better arrange and plan for box stacks. They are double-checking their blueprint to keep import and export boxes in their own lanes, as well as local and rail, all the while making sure that their organizational plan is optimized for the fastest and safest vessel turnaround.
Further, the SCPA has invested in revitalizing and expanding current infrastructure. These strategies aren’t only reactionary to current supply chain issues, but with an eye to long-term success and fluidity. “Our strategic, timely investments in port infrastructure provide capacity to customers ahead of demand. By expanding Inland Port Greer, increasing utilization of Leatherman Terminal and building near-dock rail at the future Navy Base Intermodal Facility, we are ensuring capacity and fluidity for decades to come,” said South Carolina Port Authority CEO Jim Newsome.
Could the SCPA be the answer other ports could model to address the congestion question?
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