Port of Oakland launches smart phone apps for harbor truckers
Innovation uses Bluetooth, GPS to measure how long drivers wait for cargo
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The Port of Oakland today introduced two smart phone applications that could transform containerized cargo handling at seaports. The apps provide a highly anticipated tech-based calculation of harbor trucker turn times – an elusive industry metric.
“We know of no other port measuring trucker transaction times with this precision,” said Port of Oakland Executive Director Chris Lytle. “This takes the myth out of measurement and gives us a window into port performance.”
That performance metric, however, may be compromised by factors beyond the reach of drayage drivers, however. Port analysts suggest that dockworker disruptions may continue to haunt West Coast gateways.
The apps, DrayQ and DrayLink, employ Bluetooth, WiFi and GPS technology. They tell drivers how long they’ll wait to enter marine terminal gates and how long their transactions will take. They give shippers a glimpse of the location and productivity of the drivers they hire.
The port said it commissioned apps to meet demand for accurate measurement of cargo pick-up and delivery times. These are known as turn-times in industry vernacular. The port retained Reston, VA-based Leidos to license, deploy, and maintain the solution. It worked with the company to expand a wireless network throughout the Port to more closely connect the drayage truck community with marine terminal operators, cargo owners, and other stakeholders.
The port previewed both applications last month for drivers in its Trucker Work Group and stakeholders in its Efficiency Task Force.
According to port spokesmen, its new apps can transform container shipping in a number of ways:
*Drivers and cargo owners can receive up-to-the minute information on turn times. They can now plan transactions around peak periods of marine terminal activity.
*Ports can get uncontestable data on how quickly terminals are moving containers for cargo owners. If greater efficiency is needed, the data will prove it.
*Shippers and trucking firms will be able to monitor driver location and progress in real time to improve dispatching.
“Drivers understand that when it comes to moving shipping containers, it pays to know your wait time,” said Taso Zografos of Leidos. “DrayQ is the first smart phone application to provide real-time estimates of street wait times, terminal turn-time calculated from entry to exit, combined aggregate wait time and even the trend of that wait time.”
Dray users will be able to log-in to the app to view marine terminal wait times on their phones. DrayLink, will connect harbor truckers with shippers and the companies that dispatch drivers. DrayLink™ will provide validated wait-time reports for truckers who register to use the service. It will also verify driver compliance with regulations required for access to terminals.
Zografos said the smart phone apps will be available via Apple and Google app stores by the end of April. He added that Bluetooth and WiFi technology supporting the apps has already been installed and tested.
About the AuthorPatrick Burnson, Executive Editor Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]
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