13 Tips to Improve Port Truck Turn Times

Posted by Port City Logistics on Jul 7, 2022 1:05:45 PM

Port truck turn time should ideally be a cut-and-dry process. A container is picked up at a truck port, delivered, and returned to the port. 

This isn't always a dual transaction where they bring back an empty container to the truck port. Thus, all port container turn-times are not equal to port truck turn times, but all port truck turn-times are not necessarily equivalent to all port container turn times.

the Port of LA incentivizes quicker port truck turn times depending on circumstances with new programs and changes to their existing policies for assessing fees. Even more important, reducing the total turn time is associated with stronger return on investment (ROI) of individual port authorities and terminal operators. According to DC Velocity, terminals that improve truck turn times by 5% to 20% can earn between 50 cents and $2.75 per loaded or empty” container. But how do shippers improve port truck turn times and cash in on those incentives? This blog will explore some tips and tricks to do so. 

1. Capture Data to Track Truck Drayage Real-Time Location

Real-time data keeps tabs on a truck’s locations and helps shorten port truck turn times. From the time it leaves the truck port, makes a delivery, and comes back, shippers and port truckers can utilize the help of technology-rich 3PLs to visually detect where a shipment is and its ETA to the destination. From there, freight management parties may divert the truck from its original route to one that is more optimal and can expedite the shipment, reaching the destination faster and saving money by being more fuel-efficient.

Tracking a truck's real-time location and expediting freight is crucial to factor into import and export costs. As of June 23rd of this year, Drewry's composite world container index decreased by 3% to $7,285.89 per 40ft container this week. This could’ve been avoided had the importers and exporters  had access to the shipment’s real-time location and rerouted the freight to accelerate the port truck turn times

Luckily more ports are aware of this now and are making efforts to expedite transporting vessel containers to and from their destination more efficiently.

2. Use Advanced Analytics to Understand the Performance of All Port Trucks

Port trucking can be more easily understood with transparency within the organization. With advanced technologies providing real-time analysis of port truck performances, companies can better understand how every truck in their port is performing and make the necessary adjustments to improve and maintain the quality of the truck's performance. In short, companies have a bird's eye view of their operations and can make necessary changes to function more efficiently.

Advanced analytics will also help recalibrate the per diem rates for truckers, ensuring that they are being paid according to the quality of service they provide. Through advanced analytics, truckers will be compensated accordingly for how long it takes to complete deliveries from start to finish. 

With real-time analysis, truckers can optimize their performance to get paid well while completing their jobs promptly. In turn, freight management parties can also use more data to track performance and capacity needs through an overarching port drayage truck registry.

3. Keep All Parties Informed of the Dray Truck’s ETA

As mentioned above, real-time tracking and advanced analytics ensure that the concerned parties are informed of a truck's whereabouts andits ETA. It's important to relay this information to all parties involved. This includes the shippers and carriers, and most importantly, the customers.

The customer should be given more than just a tracking number to follow their package's ETA. Tools like push notifications and emails are essential updates that help put the customer's mind at ease. Customers learn  that their delivery is on the way and that the shipper and carriers care about the quality of their services. 

4. Avoid Overbooking Drayage Truckers

Overbooking trucks causes a lot of hassle for the transportation' provider This can cause more mistakes and can extend port truck turn times, disrupting the entire supply chain. Overbooking trucks causes higher costs and contributes to  lack of capacity  at truck ports

An excellent way to prevent overbooking is through cross-docking, a transportation strategy where freight is moved directly from one mode of transportation to another without needing storage. This way, shippers don't have to wait for one specific type of transportation equipment to move their shipments. 

4. Ensure Your Warehouses Are Ready to Receive a Truck’s Container

Dealing with trucks as they come into a port is an archaic process t. With advances in technology, truck ports can now check the capacity of a container and whether their is storage space  available. Companies can now  leverage their resources to facilitate freight within their warehouses. Technologies can help warehouses identify how many containers they're willing to accommodate and whether they can service more business.

When a port or warehouse is at full capacity but still trying to accommodate new containers, all parties waste valuable time and resources, causing delays for  port truck turn times. For shippers, it is important to manage their resources. And if a warehouse cannot receive more containers, there is no shame in letting carriersknow that they cannot facilitate them at the moment. 

5. Automate Push Notifications to Share Changes in Truck Status

While real-time data helps capture truck locations, it's also essential to record changes in a truck’s status.  Push notifications over the phone and online notifyCustomers about their shipment.Driverscan alert their dispatchers about potential problems that may cause delays. Automated push notifications will alert the shipper, carrier, and customer with the status of their delivery. T6. Leverage Multiple Carriers & Outsource When Necessary

It's not a smart strategy to put all by being limited to one trucking company. Then the shipper will have to wait until their preferred carrier has the means to deliver one's shipment making port truck turn times lengthier and affecting the profitability of all parties involved.

Luckily, shippers can outsource their freight to different carriers by partnering with a 3PL. Shipping companies can utilize 3PL’s by giving them the requirements to transport their goods. The advantage of using a 3PL versus an asset-based carrier, is that a 3PL can use a network of carriers that can ensure that the best quality truck is assigned to the right load. 

7. Remember to Consider Factors Beyond Your Control

Several factors cannot be controlled when making a delivery but neverthelessaffect port truck turn times. There is no way to predict what can happen on the road. Port congestion, traffic, and the climate can all contribute to delays.  

With cutting-edge technology and tracking systems via a 3PL, companies can prepare for the worst and quickly change their course if needed to maintain the port truck turn times. T8. Dispatch Your Drayage Trucks as Early as Possible

 Shippers must work to ensure drayage trucks are dispatched immediately, which will help decrease the port congestion, demurrage charges,  and help improve drayage efficiency. Drayage ports canoptimize their space more efficiently and make it easier for more freights to dock and use their ports. 9. Use Digital Document Management to Avoid the Risk of Lost Paperwork and Headaches

A digital BOL or eBOL helps make document management easier by compiling all relevant documents and information needed into the cloud.. When clients come in to provide necessary data, the eBOL will have it stored securely so that the concerned parties can access it at the click of a button and reduce  headache of lost paperwork 10. Consider Alternate Ports of Entry for Your Ocean Freight

With ships still stuck on the west coast ports,  more companies have been searching for alternative ways of entry to dock and unload their merchandise. Ports like the Port of Miami, Charleston, and Savannah are popular alternatives According to Georgia Ports Authority, as of Feb. 2022, no vessels were waiting at anchor at the Port of Savannah. While ports in Houston, Oakland, and New York/New Jersey all had a healthy amount of traffic coming in.  

This means the Savannah port is empty, and more ocean freight can start going there to anchor and conduct their business,  Using alternate ports may help shippers with their supply chain. supply chain more smoothly. T11. Maximize Use of Dual Transactions Where Possible

A dual transaction is when an empty or filled container is dropped off at a truck port for exporting and picking up another full container for delivery elsewhere, all in the same trip making it two complete transactions in one go. This is good for port truck turn times because it decreases the time and fuel spent going from one location to anotherDual transactions can help carriers be more efficient in completing deliveries as they have containers available immediately. It also helps clear port logjams so that ports are not congested with empty or full containers Dual transactions help shippers, carriers, and drivers do their jobs more efficiently and cut the downtime between deliveries continuing

12. Take Advantage of Local Warehousing and Staging 

Working with a 3PL that own their own warehouses located near ports   is often an advantage. This allows carriers to travel fewer miles to transload, unload, and deliver.  Local warehousing provides more control of resources as everything is close by and will decrease carrier per diem costs. Another advantage of local warehousing is that it cuts down travel time for obtaining a full container so truckers can deliver and bring back the empty container to its original truck port faster and more efficiently. 

Companies with localized warehousing available help shippers movecontainers more efficiently.Ports like the Port of Savannah utilize local warehousing to leverage their global connections to provide and receive freight from places like the Panama Canal with zero travel time. No longer are shippers required to make long inland trips to deliver the shipment and then come back to drop off the container at its point of origin.  

13. Simplify Your Drayage Management Process With Technology

Drayage management can be challenging, especially when so many checks and balances are required to ensure that everything is following the administrative process. Traditionally, dray trucks would be subjected to the same procedures multiple times across several stops, which could delay port truck turn times and even backlog containers due to the redundant formalities that the drivers constantly have to go through. But now, thanks to technological advances, constant verification stops can be avoided. 

The drayage management process can now be simplified, thanks to the drayage appointment tech as a one-stop-shop for truckers. Within modern systems, drivers enter the necessary information and get provided a copy of the shipment BOL or other material. Such technology helps ports preventadded costs, and document management since everything is available in one place. 

Streamline Port Truck Turn Times by Partnering With Port City Logistics

It is crucial to keep port truck turn times as low as possible. Factors like paperwork, constant stops, loading, and unloading can contribute to more time spent on a particular job. That's where partnering with Port City Logistics will help. Port City Logistics is a logistics provider that strategically matches shippers and carriers with each other to expedite the shipping process. Connect with an expert today in port truck turnaround at Port City Logistics to streamline your port processes now.

Topics: port trucking