SC Ports Authority Invests $17M in new terminal operating system

SCSPA News Release
September 21, 2010

The South Carolina State Ports Authority (SCSPA) is investing $17.3 million in a new terminal operating system, enhancing cargo visibility and customer service.

The SCSPA Board today 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 will substantially 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 (TOS). 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 (TOS) 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.

More importantly, 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.

The South Carolina State Ports Authority, established by the state’s General Assembly in 1942, owns and operates public seaport facilities in Charleston and Georgetown, handling international commerce valued at nearly $45 billion annually while receiving no direct taxpayer subsidy. An economic development engine for the state, port operations facilitate 260,800 jobs across South Carolina and $44.8 billion in economic activity each year. For more information, visit

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