Port of Virginia to Debut Trucker Reservation System
The Port of Virginia on March 1 will debut the first phase of its PRO-PASS Trucker Reservation System (TRS), an innovation that will provide multiple benefits to the motor carriers servicing the port, cargo owners, logistics companies and the port’s terminal operations team.
For more than two years, representatives of the port’s innovation and operations teams have been collaborating with local motor carriers and software development firms to create a useful system that will drive greater efficiency for truck-borne cargo flowing to the terminals. The reservation system is being deployed in phases, starting March 1 at Norfolk International Terminals (NIT) and then it will migrate to Virginia International Gateway this summer.
“This system allows us to manage flow at the gates, it creates efficiency for our terminal operations teams and for drivers, it provides greater visibility to cargo owners and it is a planning tool for us and everyone that moves their cargo to the port by truck,” said John F. Reinhart, the CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority. “We listened intently to direction from those people that will be using the system and have put a lot of time, effort and resources into creating something that will benefit multiple users in different ways. The goal is improved delivery of service.”
Three years ago, the port’s IT and Operations teams began developing a system to help manage the flow of trucks to and from the terminal. At the time, the project was seen as part of the solution to congestion at the gates during peak hours and a planning tool for terminal operations to help prepare for the next day’s truck volume.
“The challenges we are having at our gates are very telling and an important learning experience,” Reinhart said. “We are learning that as our volumes grow and we begin to bring more capacity online, we must ensure flow at our gates throughout the day. Having all the motor carriers show up when we open is not efficient. Spreading out the truck volume across the day is the solution and we’ve developed an innovative, fair, easy and useful way of doing it.”
An important part of the reservation system at NIT was the opening of the new $42 million, technology-driven North Gate complex. The 26-lane gate, which was opened in the summer of 2017, allows for motor carriers to enter and exit the terminal in a seamless transaction. The gate’s technology package was developed to include TRS; at VIG, the hardware and technology infrastructure for TRS is already in place.
The port is committed to a phased roll-out of TRS. In the initial phase, motor carriers calling NIT between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m., Monday through Friday, must have a reservation Additional mandatory hours are planned as the TRS gains a firm footing in the trucking community.
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