Seattle-Tacoma ports flex apps to reduce terminal wait times

Seattle-Tacoma ports flex apps to reduce terminal wait times

The use of new smart phone applications at the ports of Seattle and Tacoma are meant to help track and avoid truck congestion.

The Northwest Seaport Alliance of Seattle and Tacoma in early November will launch two mobile applications designed to help truckers and beneficial cargo owners expedite the flow of containers through and within marine terminals and along local freight corridors.

Port congestion is a growing global problem as ocean carriers introduce ever-larger vessels and these mega-ships generate huge cargo surges that impact marine terminals and the roadways that feed the ports. The DrayQ and DrayLink mobile apps provide real-time visibility to conditions at marine terminals and provide data that can help truck dispatchers and drivers better plan their port calls.

DrayQ was introduced earlier this year at the Port of Oakland and is one of the products that technology firms specializing in harbor-related transportation are developing to improve port productivity. Also this year, InfoMagnus introduced its GeoStamp product that is now in use by truckers, terminal operators and BCOs in Los Angeles-Long Beach. Truckers, terminal operators and BCOs are deploying these technologies along with process improvements at major gateways.

DrayQ gives truckers real-time information about wait times in and around marine terminals. The mobile app uses Bluetooth technology to provide estimates of wait times at ports and terminals and provides trend information and traffic camera views as well. Drivers can use the app to determine the optimum time to enter a terminal is order to reduce the time spent in traffic. Dispatchers and BCOs can use DrayQ to optimize schedules.

“DrayQ give me the information I need in  real time so I can better plan my dray moves,” said drayage truck driver Ramon Anderson. “In this business, time is money, and it pays to know your wait,” he said.

The user’s mobile app device lists the terminals in Seattle-Tacoma and real-time waits at each facility, including trends throughout the day, said Tim Ebner, he Northwest Seaport Alliance’s liaison to the DrayQ project.

DrayLink connects the drayage community by offering a single common operating tool for drivers, dispatchers, terminal operators and BCOs. Like DrayQ, it also provides real-time information on street and terminal wait times, but offers greater functionality using Google Analytics, GPS data and geofencing. DrayLink enables users to track and record cargo moves and generate tailored reports and wait-time predictions and trends. Wait times are determined when the driver’s smartphone reporting GPS data passes through pre-defined fences set in the streets leading to the terminal entry and within the terminal.

Also, DrayLink provides BCOs with a tool to automate tracking, tracing and reporting notifications that improves overall in-transit visibility, said Ron Stuart, the alliance’s project manager.

DrayLink also allows motor carriers to share real-time data feeds to benefit the overall port community, said Taso Zografos, account program manager of Leidos, developer of the apps. “The key to realizing improvements and benefits is through open collaboration and shared data usage,” he said. DrayLink will be available for download from the app stores for drayage drivers at ports, intermodal yards and border crossings across the US, he said.  

Contact Bill Mongelluzzo at bill.mongelluzzo@ihsmarkit.com and follow him on Twitter: @billmongelluzzo