Truck appointments help Port of NY-NJ cut turn time

Dive Brief:

  • Trucking turn times have been reduced by 45% at the Port of New York-New Jersey since the implementation of unloading appointments, reported. Thanks to the program's success, an extra hour will soon be added to the unloading appointment schedule.
  • The program was first implemented in December, even amidst wariness from truckers that doubted prompt arrival time due to traffic, weather, or other factors.
  • Though appointments must be made by 6 p.m. the night before a planned visit, a last-minute-openings option suggested by truckers has been added: each morning, an alert displays available appointment times that were neither taken nor fulfilled due to last­-minute cancelations.

​Dive Insight:

Though the current appointment system at the GCT Terminal at the Port of NY-NJ has been successful, some grumbling remains. Truckers and trucking associations have remained staunch in their skepticism, citing outside delaying factors as inhibitive. Concern over possible missed appointments remains.

Yet NY-NJ is not the first to succeed with a terminal appointment system. Assorted methods of pre-arranged arrival times are already in place at the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, New Orleans, Vancouver, Sydney, and Southampton. Five terminals at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach switched to truck appointment systems in 2016.  

Vancouver's system has been in place the longest. There, truckers have two-hour appointment windows. The average turn time, including queuing, is 22 to 28 minutes, while fewer than 3% take longer than 90 minutes. At or over the 90 minute mark, the terminal pays the driver a penalty fee.

In general, terminal appointment systems are part of ports' commitment to increase efficiency and reduce congestion. Each port may have a different system because each suffers different issues, but by and large such systems allow a level of predictability and accountability within the actors. For shippers, a successful port system means, ideally, lower rates, fewer unexpected delays, and a more transparent logistics process. As the systems improve through stakeholder feedback, shippers will be the biggest winners.

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Filed Under: Freight