Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Trucker Creates Container Exchange App

By Mark Edward Nero

A new mobile phone application – the brainchild of a harbor driver – has been developed to get truckers out of line at the Port of Oakland.

Filex Fok, a licensed motor carrier at the port, introduced the new app last week. The app, which Fok calls Jupigo, helps harbor truckers exchange empty cargo containers without ever entering the port. The objective is to keep truckers on the road and not waiting at 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, and truckers searching for empties also post their requirements. The app automatically alerts both drivers, who can then initiate a container exchange.

“Imagine the benefits when there is a match on this platform,” Fok said. “Two trucks off the waiting line and on the road making productive trips.”

Other benefits of the app, Fok said, include reduced diesel emissions and fuel consumption because truckers won’t wait in line to return empty containers; less crowding at marine terminal gates; and bigger paydays for drivers who can haul more cargo by making fewer port visits.

“Everyone gains from this development,” Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll said. “But what I like is that this was created by truckers for truckers.”

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 within the port.

Oakland truckers have sometimes used email or online chats to arrange street-turns, but Fok said Jupigo will be more efficient because of its automatic matching feature, SmartMatch. He also added though, that his app can’t finalize street-turns; truckers must still contact the shipping lines that own the empty containers, which is 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. The free app should be available in app stores next month, Fok said.

Jupigo is the third container traffic app introduced at the Port of Oakland in the past few weeks. The others, called DrayQ and DrayLink, give drivers real time metrics on gate queues and terminal transaction times. They were developed for the Port of Oakland by Virginia-based tech firm Leidos.