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Surprise port closures leave truckers without pay in South Carolina

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Surprise port closures in South Carolina on Monday caused an unplanned day of no pay for many truckers. 

The Charleston, Dillon, and Greer ports in South Carolina never opened on Monday, May 20th after continuous delayed openings eventually led to surprise port closures for the day. A warning outlining possible delays was first issued on Sunday night when officials noticed a software issue affecting operations. Charleston port experienced a similar issue back in 2020 due to IT issues. 

According to ABC News 4, the first delayed opening was set for 10 a.m., was bumped up to noon, and was moved again to 2 p.m. until finally officials declared the ports would not open at all. The ongoing delays and the surprise port closures left trucks lining the highways with nowhere to go and no way to make money for the day.

“Never. Never. This is the first time, ever, I’ve seen this happen,” said truck driver Kristy Ray, who drove from Tennessee to work the South Carolina ports before anyone knew about the surprise port closures. “If you don’t get to work, you don’t have any miles, so you don’t make any money. So, it does affect everyone that can’t make a delivery because they can’t get their container.”

“A software issue, like I said, it’s about an hour or so when something happens. They have a glitch or anything, about a half hour, an hour, or an hour and a half at the most. I’ve never seen it down all day,” said Robert Vestrand, a local truck driver working the ports. Vestrand says that work along the ports has been slow the last few years, but is typically run very efficiently, and surprise port closures are not common.

“You will be behind today, but now you’re going to see congestion because everybody’s behind. And now it’s going to be trying to get in and get out. It’s, it’s going to be a hard week,” he said of the surprise port closures. 

The ports reopened for business at 5 a.m. on Tuesday, May 21st.

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