Harbor truckers and marine terminal operators in Los Angeles-Long Beach are joining forces in a pilot project to improve freight mobility in the nation’s largest port complex.
The Freight Advanced Traveler Information Systems pilot is sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration. In addition to the Southern California effort, FRATIS includes a pilot project at a rail facility in Dallas-Fort Worth and a port-related project in South Florida.
FRATIS attempts to improve truck turn times at freight terminals through the sharing of information between trucking companies and terminal operators, said Randy Butler, manager of freight technology at the FHWA.
“The data is already there, but freight terminals usually don’t share queue information,” Butler told a dinner meeting Wednesday of the Harbor Trucking Association of Southern California.
Drayage operator Port Logistics Group will provide one-day pre-notification of its proposed container drop-offs and pickups at NYK Line’s Yusen Terminals in the Port of Los Angeles.
Yusen will use the information to plan its equipment and labor requirements for the next day. Currently, harbor trucking companies proactively file advance information only about 20 percent of the time. “Eighty percent is reactive. It’s too late,” said Bill Peratt, director of Yusen Terminals in Los Angeles.
The FRATIS system will accumulate historical data on truck travel times and queue times, and combine that with information on current roadway conditions, accidents, truck queue times, weather-caused delays and other real-time data that are influencing traffic that day.
“The center of this program is data integration — bringing it together in a specific algorithm that will support efficiency,” Butler said.
FHWA two years ago ran a pilot with a smaller drayage operator at a rail facility in Kansas City. The use of FRATIS technology produced a 10 percent reduction in bobtail moves, 19 percent improvement in travel times, 13 percent reduction in fuel consumption and 8 percent decline in diesel emissions, he said.
With 13 container terminals handling 15 million 20-foot container units each year, Los Angeles-Long Beach will be a much more complex environment, but the participants believe they can build on this six-month pilot to develop a comprehensive plan for the harbor complex.
“We are willing to provide as much data as we can to make it work. This is a landmark event,” Johnson said.
There is growing interest in Los Angeles-Long Beach for a portwide adaptive, or dynamic appointment system that would allow truckers to pre-book appointments and to make real-time alternations in response to unexpected delays at terminals and warehouses and on roadways.
Private-sector companies are looking at similar plans, but Butler said FRATIS should not be viewed as government competition for their efforts. “We’re trying to prove out a concept,” he said.