The Truck Appointment System (TAS) allows truckers to make booking arrangements with terminal operators for the delivery or collection of empty and full containers. Although the application sports a simple and intuitive user interface for the creation, approval and rejection of appointments, it also provides advanced tools for the effective management of appointments by all parties involved.
While the TAS standardizes the appointment management experience for the entire community, it allows granular control for various players including terminals who require the flexibility to manage some parameters such as the number and size of time slots per day and the prioritization of containers and trucking companies.
As it is part of a greater container release authorization framework, truckers can use it to determine if containers are entirely cleared (by Customs, Terminals etc.) and positioned for collection before making an appointment or heading to the Terminal. Once an appointment has been made, the Terminals will also be notified accordingly.
The following processes will be covered:
- Export – Empty Container Collection
- Export – Full Container Delivery
- Import – Full Container Collection
- Port Terminals – Receive portions of the manifest for billing purposes
- Import – Empty Container Return
Traditionally, trucking companies handling containers within the Jamaican port community were unable to operate efficiently due to the fact that they could not effectively plan their daily activities or utilize their resources. This was partly due to the fact that Terminals did not have a structured method of organizing truck appointments and because truckers were never afforded visibility on container availability and delivery queues. This would result in trucks queuing at Terminal gates for hours, awaiting entry approval and container positioning. This often meant wasted fuel, under-utilized equipment, overpaid drivers, missed bookings, penalties, unfair treatment and additional payment for overtime.
Moving forward, these problems will disappear as truckers will benefit from the TAS' single, standardized interface which allows them to comprehensively manage their activities across all Terminals. Its calendar-based design provides a unique and informative view into the Terminals' current situation including entry/exit authorizations as well as container and time-slot availability. Given that the PCS will manage the appointments' queues, it will enforce fairness in Terminals' vetting of companies and allow truckers to use a "Just-In-Time" approach, enabling better resource management.
The lack of a structured approach to handling trucker interactions led to significant inefficiencies for Terminals. Without a system in place, Terminals' Gate Operations teams were left to deal with truckers turning up in a haphazard manner and causing congestion at their gates. Due to the lack of predictability, the ensuing chaos would essentially lead to constant fire-fighting situations with Terminal operators scrambling to secure additional container positioning equipment to service deliveries. This would often spin-off into other problems around the Terminal, especially in Vessel Operations and Security Management.
The TAS will provide a reliable and structured means of organizing trucker appointments, enabling efficient planning and management for Terminal Operators. As the PCS will integrate with the Terminals' Operating Systems, it can autonomously verify container location and clearance status as well as handling bookings, relieving gate staff to carry out more important duties. As truck queues are typically positioned on public thoroughfares, just outside Terminal gates, the TAS' Just-In-Time appointment approach will help to remove the congestion, alleviating safety, security and other concerns for the Terminal Operators.