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American ShipperShipping

Port of Virginia touts reduction in truck turns

A year after the launch of an electronic truck reservation system, truck turn times at the Virginia International Gateway terminal are down about 32 percent.

   On the first-year anniversary of its electronic truck reservation system (TRS), the Virginia Port Authority said truck turn times at the Virginia International Gateway terminal have been reduced an average 32 percent.
   “Drivers that are taking advantage of this technology are getting in and out of our terminals quicker than ever before,” said John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the port authority, in a statement. 
   “TRS allows us to better manage flow at our gates,” he added. “It gives even greater visibility to cargo owners and has matured into an important planning tool for us and everyone who moves cargo by truck.”
   The Virginia Port Authority began developing its truck reservation system two years ago to deal with the backup of trucks waiting to pick up and drop off containers at the terminals.
   The system was set up for Norfolk International Terminals (NIT) in March 2018, followed in June with its implementation at Virginia International Gateway (VIG).
   In the beginning, there were only a few mandatory hours per day per terminal. Now the system has become a regular component of daily port operations and is in use by area truckers from the time the terminals open (5 a.m. at NIT and 3 a.m. at VIG) until 1 p.m.
    “Exactly a year later, TRS mandatory hours account for nearly 100 gate hours per week at NIT and Virginia International Gateway (VIG), covering more than 70 percent of available truck gate capacity at both terminals. The system is designed to complement and enhance the efficiencies produced by the semi-automated container stacks, improving overall results for truckers, beneficial cargo owners and the port,” the port authority said.
   Since March 1, 2018, 292,588 reservations have been completed in the system at both VIG and NIT. About 765 reservations daily are conducted at VIG for an average 32 percent turn-time reduction. At NIT, which receives about 567 reservations daily, the turn time is down an average 16 percent. Those truckers now using the reservation system generally experience turn times of 45 minutes or less, a port authority spokesman said.
   “Rush hour is not an option,” Reinhart said. “Spreading out the truck volume across the day is the only way to achieve efficiency, and we’ve developed an innovative, fair, easy and useful means of accomplishing that.”

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Chris Gillis

Located in the Washington, D.C. area, Chris Gillis primarily reports on regulatory and legislative topics that impact cross-border trade. He joined American Shipper in 1994, shortly after graduating from Mount St. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, Md., with a degree in international business and economics.
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