OCEAN CARRIERS TO DIRECTLY MANAGE MTMC CARGO BOOKINGS
The U.S. Military Traffic Management Command will allow Defense shippers for the first time to book their cargo directly through an ocean carrier Internet Web page.
The direct booking concept takes MTMC, the ocean and overland logistics unit of the armed forces, out of the “middleman” role. It used to be that all of the command’s ocean shipments were booked in its Integrated Booking System. These bookings are managed by an office in the Deployment Support Command at Fort Eustis, Va.
“This is all part of the Strategic Distribution Initiative which seeks to reduce shipping times — primarily by squeezing time out of the transshipment nodes,” said Frank Galluzzo, director of MTMC’s Distribution Analysis Center in Alexandria, Va.
The first test of the direct booking was conducted Thursday between MTMC’s customer, the Defense Supply Center in Philadelphia, and CSX Lines. The Defense Supply Center requested three bookings for a total of six containers to be loaded in Oakland, Calif., for delivery to Guam. The bookings were confirmed in about 15 minutes, much faster than MTMC’s Integrated Booking System.
The Defense Supply Center in Philadelphia ships about 5,000 to 6,000 containers a year. The bulk of the cargo is food and some industrial goods.
CSX Lines started working on the project last October. “We had to adapt our Web booking system to some of the unique requirements of the military — such as the fact we needed to include a military traffic control number,” said Paul Vicinanzo, director of government sales and marketing for CSX Lines in Elizabeth, N.J.
“Tests went very well,” Vicinanzo said. “We see great advantages in time for both ourselves, MTMC and its customers.”
“The booking time has been cut dramatically and there is a lot more accuracy and control,” Vicinanzo added. “Now, the booking is created and it is submitted and you have a solid response.”
MTMC said the concept will eventually be expanded to all MTMC customers and ocean carriers. The next carriers to join will be Matson Navigation and APL. The next customer to join is expected to be Defense Depot San Joaquin in Joaquin, Calif.