Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Seaport Alliance to Launch Container Flow Apps

By Mark Edward Nero

The Northwest Seaport Alliance said Oct. 24 that it is launching two new mobile applications early in November to help speed the flow of containers through port facilities and along local freight corridors, reduce idling-related air emissions and save fuel.

One app, DrayQTM, aims to give truck drivers real-time information about wait times in and around marine cargo terminals and the other app, DrayLinkTM will interconnect the drayage community to better dispatch, track and record container moves from pickup to delivery.

The apps were designed specifically for, and in partnership with, the port industry to align with the US Department of Transportation’s Connected Vehicle Freight Advanced Traveler Information System.

DrayQ is to be the first mobile app in the market to use Bluetooth technology to provide real-time estimates of drayage truck wait times at ports and terminals. The app also provides trend information and traffic camera views. Drivers can use the app to determine the best time to enter a terminal and reduce the time spent in traffic, which helps reduce air emissions from idling and saves fuel. For dispatchers or shippers, it helps to optimize schedules and improve customer expectations.

“On a user’s mobile device, DrayQ lists the NWSA’s terminals and the real-time waits at each, including trends throughout the day,” Tim Ebner, the alliance’s liaison to the DrayQ project, explained.

The other app, DrayLink, is designed to help interconnect the drayage community by offering a single common operating tool for drivers, dispatchers, terminal operators and shippers to help move containers smarter.

Like DrayQ, DrayLink also provides real-time information on street and terminal wait times, but offers greater functionality using Google Analytics, GPS data, and geofencing that enables users to track and record cargo moves and generate useful tailored reports.

Drivers using DrayLink can view wait time information in real time in the same common format as DrayQ. Wait times are determined when the driver’s smartphone reporting GPS data passes through predefined geofences set in the streets leading to the terminal entry, within the terminal boundaries and also at any set “geofences within geofences” so that specific times within areas of a terminal yard can be monitored and recorded.

Another feature of DrayLink is the ability to receive and aggregate various sources of data feeds, such as GPS from fleet vehicles already equipped with devices, other third-party smartphone GPS apps, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi sensing and RFID or toll-tag data. Aggregating this available data benefits the drayage community by improving data quality and reporting accuracy.

DrayQ and DrayLink are expected to be available early November for free download and available for both iOS and Android smart phones and tablets.