Electronic Truck ID for West Coast Ports
Technology aims at safety, efficiency, and security
LONG BEACH - 12/11/03 - Marine terminal operators have announced the introduction of a new wireless truck identification system that will increase the safety and efficiency of containerized cargo handling at ports throughout the West Coast.
The introduction of electronic identification systems for all trucks picking up and dropping off containerized cargo on the West Coast is a major step forward in making port operations more secure and reducing the impacts on surrounding communities.
"The use of radio frequency and other identification technology will generate notable benefits for the public, local authorities, truckers and terminal operators," said Jon Hemingway, President & CEO, SSA Marine, which operates marine terminals at several West Coast ports and is a participant in the program. "This allows us a chance to play a constructive role on finding solutions to truck congestion and a wide variety of pending issues such as night gate hours."
Hemingway said the technology is currently used at highly efficient ports throughout the world as well as a wide array of industries, such as warehousing, retail distribution, and automated bridge toll payment systems such as California's "FasTrak" system.
Doug Tilden, president and chief executive officer of Oakland-based Marine Terminals Corporation (MTC), said, "Our company and other West Coast terminal operators believe this technology can be exceptionally effective when applied to the supply chain and, in particular, the management of trucks calling at marine terminals."
Tilden said by immediately transmitting critical information as soon as trucks pull up to marine terminals, the wireless technology is expected to dramatically reduce the time required for trucks to pick up and drop off cargo at marine terminals. This in turn will reduce emissions created by idling trucks.
Marine terminal operators are in the process of soliciting proposals from leading technology developers and providers to provide a comprehensive electronic identification system for all trucks that operate on the West Coast.
The selection of a qualified supplier of electronic truck tagging technology, such as radio frequency identification (RFID) tags or real time locating system (RTLS) tags, will allow terminal operators to apply this fast-growing technology to effectively manage terminals at West Coast ports. The successful bidder will have the opportunity to set the technology standard for a significant segment of the transportation industry.
Terminal operators have agreed to purchase and pay for installation of any equipment required on trucks. An estimated 30,000 trucks operating on the West Coast are expected to be fitted with the new devices. The terminal operators anticipate having all necessary equipment installed on trucks and in terminals by next March.
The marine terminal operators are working with five groups to accomplish this project: various vendors through its published RFP, the US Coast Guard, port and local government offices, trucking companies and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), under the most recent Pacific Maritime Association (PMA)/ ILWU Contract's "Technology Framework."
Long Beach Vice Mayor and City Councilman Frank Colonna said he is optimistic the use of electronic identification technology will help improve relations between the ports and surrounding communities. Colonna, who is also Chairman of the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority and the Gateway Cities Council of Governments I-710 (Long Beach Freeway) Oversight Committee, expressed strong support for the technology.
"I like the initiative. It will provide a pathway to better manage truck traffic, minimize congestion, reduce air pollution and, more importantly, it demonstrates that terminal operators are sensitive to the needs of the public without jeopardizing the many benefits the State and our regional economy receive from activities associated with marine terminal operators," Colonna said.
Glenn Eddy, senior vice president of APM Terminals Pacific at the Port of Los Angeles, said the wireless identification technology will increase security within terminals by quickly matching the information provided by truckers with information maintained in databases. "Better and faster information collection and sharing is a key component to improving port security," Eddy said.
Eddy said the technology also will give ports and local governments a major tool with which to manage traffic congestion near bustling West Coast ports. "For the first time, we will have a modern, accurate data collection system that will be able to tell us when and where trucks are impacting local highways. This kind of information is essential if we are to plan for and manage our vibrant international trade economy."
The electronic truck identification system also will make terminals safer by allowing operators to track truck traffic within the terminal boundaries. It will allow for faster verification of required registration and insurance information and could lead to reduced congestion on nearby highways by making it less costly for terminal operators to move containerized cargo during off-peak hours.
The West Coast Marine Terminal Operators have filed a discussion agreement with the Federal Maritime Commission for the purposes of issuing the identification technology solicitation and finding other ways to address the needs of West Coast ports. The Shipping Act of 1984 allows Marine Terminal Operators (MTOs) to meet, discuss and reach agreements concerning rates, charges, rules, regulations, procedures, practices, terms and other conditions of service.
The focus of the discussion agreement is on the relationship (operational and security) of MTOs and motor carriers.
A schedule will be published where each terminal operator will require the use of a standard electronic truck tagging technology as a condition to enter a terminal. Members consist of APM Terminals Pacific; California United Terminals Inc; Eagle Marine Services Ltd; Husky Terminals Inc; International Transportation Service Inc; Long Beach Container Terminal Inc; Marine Terminals Corp; Metropolitan Stevedore Company; Pasha Stevedoring & Terminals L.P; SSA Marine; Trans Bay Container Terminal Inc; Trans Pacific Container Service Corporation (TRAPAC); and Yusen Terminals Inc.
Information on the solicitation for proposals is available at www.mtoda.com
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