Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Freight Truck Driver Releases Free App to Speed Container Street Turns at Port

Drayage Contractor Comes up with the Goods in More Ways Than One
Shipping News Feature
US – An HGV driver from a previous age would scratch his or her head in amazement at the changes in the freight industry which have occurred in the daily routine of anyone connected with the physical distribution of goods. Nothing illustrates this better than the latest news from the West Coast Port of Oakland where the latest aid to drivers is an app written by someone best qualified to do so – a harbour driver responsible for some of the container traffic actually passing through the port.

Filex Fok, a licensed motor carrier at the Port, introduced the new app last week. Called Jupigo, his technology helps harbour truckers exchange empty cargo containers without ever entering the Port. The objective: keep truckers on the road, not waiting at busy terminal gates. Jupigo functions like a dating app for truck drivers who have equipment needs. Drivers with empty containers to return post their equipment availability on Jupigo. Truckers searching for empties post their requirements as well. The app automatically alerts both drivers, who can then initiate a container exchange.

Container swaps executed outside marine terminals are known in the industry as street-turns. They’re desirable because they spare drivers the need to pick-up or return empties in the Port. Previously Oakland truckers have used email or online chats to arrange street-turns. Mr. Fok said Jupigo will be more efficient because of its automatic matching feature, SmartMatch. But he added that his app can’t finalize street-turns. Truckers must still contact the shipping lines that own the empty containers. That’s usually done through an online form.

Jupigo estimates there are 2,000 to 3,000 street turns conducted by Port of Oakland drivers weekly. The company hopes to more than double the number with its new app. For every street-turn it enables, two more trucks are kept out of line at Oakland terminals. Mr. Fok said the benefits of his app include less emissions and fuel used, less congestion at the terminal gates and financial gains for drivers who can haul more cargo by making fewer Port visits.

The latest app was welcomed by Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll who said what impressed him was the fact it was a creation for truckers by a trucker. The app is the third introduced at the Port of Oakland this month to shorten lines at terminal gates. The others, called DrayQ and DrayLink, gives drivers real time metrics on gate queues and terminal transaction times. They were developed for the Port by Reston, VA-based tech firm Leidos. Speaking of his new app Mr Fok said:

“Imagine the benefits when there is a match on this platform, two trucks off the waiting line and on the road making productive trips. There’ll be no charge for the feature, the payoff is increased efficiency for all of us who drive at the Port of Oakland.”

Photo: Courtesy of Zagruzka-Mods.