Truckers along the west coast of the U.S. are attempting to restore efficiency to ocean ports by petitioning for new processes related to pickups and drop-offs of cargo. Recently, several different trucking groups have rallied together to petition for port officials at the Southern Californian ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to make a single, unified truck appointment system that would clear up congestion and make the process more linear.
This new process has several different benefits. Firstly, it will significantly improve efficiency for truckers – specifically draymen – to get cargo in and out of the 112 container terminals at the ports. Secondly, it would drastically reduce costs for all parties involved, since the efficiency would benefit truckers and shippers due to decreased wait times, and for ports who would be able to throughput a significantly higher volume of containers on a day-to-day basis due to the improved appointment platforms. These changes would affect the whole San Pedro Bay complex.
Restoring Efficiency: New Booking Platform
Truckers are currently forced to work between a multitude of different platforms and softwares to find and book appointments for container drop-offs and pickups. By introducing a single unified truck appointment system, it would restore productivity and decrease costs since carriers would be spending significantly less time on the administrative side of their operations. Many of the various appointment systems currently have little overlap in terms of how they operate, and it requires carriers to modify their process for booking depending on what port or terminals a particular truck needs to travel to.
Efforts are being made, not only on the part of carriers, but also by the Port of Long Beach’s Supply Chain Information Highway to move towards this single appointment system in the near future.
Minimal Disruption Expected
The transition to using such an appointment system would actually be minimally disruptive, as it wouldn’t require existing terminals to completely overhaul the systems they currently use. The only major change would be on the front-end interaction side between carriers and the ports for the initial booking system, but introducing a unified appointment software wouldn’t override terminals who use different systems on the back end. This is because any new system would be developed to interact and function seamlessly with the existing appointment platforms used by the ports along the San Pedro Bay complex.
While officials from the Port of Long Beach have yet to make a statement on the new proposal, the support across the industry – on the side of truckers, carriers, industry experts, and many port operations staff – is incredibly strong. At this point, it’s expected that such a change will be made in the future, but the details as to when the project would begin remain unclear. However, the petitions and conversations surrounding the new system are incredibly encouraging to carriers and are shining light on new ways that efficiency can be revitalized at some of the most congested ports in the U.S.