Devine has a seat at the table for the Port of Oakland’s Port Efficiency Task Force. In fact, our own Karen Vellutini is leading the task force’s Appointment System committee.
To combat some of the challenges the port has faced over the past few years (terminal consolidations and closures and labor disruptions and shortages), port executives approached industry stakeholders to help identify goals, facilitate change and move progress forward.
For more than a year, the task force has gathered with the goal of improving the port’s throughput. Initially, the group identified four hot buttons for the task force to address: Extended hours, appointment system, metrics, and a grey chassis pool. Here is a brief update of where the task force is on these issues:
Extended hours: This committee focuses on the need, preferred hours, market acceptance and cost of extended hour terminal gates. They surveyed the industry to develop a blueprint. SSA then used this plan to develop its extended hours program, which commenced in June 2016. Additionally, TraPac is experimenting with limited service night gates two days per week. It is important to note, SSA’s extended hours program has become a model for other terminal operators around the country. Expect more on this subject in the months ahead.
Appointment system: To even out truck flows and migrate to a more planned operation, initiating appointments for import grounded containers became a necessity. Everport had a system in place, SSA implemented their appointment system in June 2016, and TraPac expects to pull the trigger on one in the next couple of months. The next steps are to expand the appointment window, streamline the appointment-making process and even integrate terminal appointment software with truck dispatch software.
Performance Metrics: The goal of the metrics group is to identify where we are in terms of truck turn times, vessel/terminal/container idle times, chassis availability and customs clearance with the intention of developing performance standards and expectations. Dray Q, the port’s bluetooth technology, goes a long way in determining truck turn times both in the queue and inside the terminal.
Grey Chassis Pool: A grey chassis pool makes chassis “brandless” for users, meaning the chassis does not have to match the provider dictated by that ocean carriers. Users are free to use whatever chassis is available and in good order. The proper billing is then coordinated behind the scenes by the chassis providers. It was originally hoped this task would be the first checked off the list, but it is a much more complicated process than expected. The chassis providers are working on a formal program for the New York/New Jersey market. Once those details can be agreed upon by the various stakeholders, that plan can be applied to Oakland.
While much progress has been made, there is still work left to do. We will endeavor to keep you updated.