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54 Truck Drayage Productivity Guide may not eliminate late afternoon queues either, because some of the late afternoon surge is caused by customers releasing containers late in the day. To the extent that late afternoon queuing is caused by truckers trying to complete one more transaction before closing, however, extending the gate hours should reduce that problem. Closing for Meals and Breaks Depending on local labor agreements and practices, gates may remain open during scheduled coffee breaks and meal periods or may close. Lunch breaks (and coffee breaks or shift-change breaks) that close gates cause major queuing problems and impose significant inefficiencies on the drayage industry. Gates can be kept open through breaks by staggering the break periods and using relief workers. Trouble Tickets The findings of NCFRP Project 14 point to exceptions from normal processes as a major source of delay and cost. The long "tails" on the turn time data, in particular, suggest that around 5% of the cases consume much more than the "normal" time and expense. "Trouble ticket" is the generic name given to exceptions in the port drayage process that are significant enough to be docu- mented and handled separately. In most cases, a printed slip of paper--the trouble ticket--is issued to the driver, who then goes to an office or trouble window to have the issue resolved. Trouble tickets are generated by exceptions that require interaction between some combination of driver, terminal staff, drayage firm, ocean carrier, and customer. Drivers have a strong incentive to complete the transaction as quickly as possible, so they will only bring an issue to the attention of the terminal staff if they cannot easily resolve it themselves. About 5% of all transactions result in trouble tickets and each one adds about an hour to the turn time. That hour of a trucker's time is worth $50 to $60. In 2007, the United States moved about 26 million containers through its ports. At 5%, trouble tickets are therefore affecting about 1.3 mil- lion annual movements and costing the industry roughly $65 million annually. Minor exceptions that can be quickly resolved would not ordinarily generate a trouble ticket. Examples of minor exceptions could include the following: Missing information, such as a trucking company phone number, that a driver can quickly supply; Minor chassis defects that can be corrected at a roadability canopy; and A container on chassis that is not parked in the expected spot, but that the driver can quickly locate nearby. "Turnaways" impact dray efficiency while sometimes not being fully internalized as a metric of terminal efficiency. When a truck at the Port of Houston is refused entry, for example, a trouble ticket is issued and a transaction is entered into the database. However, the "clock" that measures turn times never starts, thus it is difficult to know the true time cost penalty for the driver who is turned away. The difference in the mean turn times between troubles and non-troubles may thus understate the true impact of such problems. Truckers can be turned away at either gate stage for a variety of reasons. In the Port of Houston Webaccess System, most often turnaways will be des- ignated in the truck visits database as a visit with no turn time, because the truck never completed its operation. The automatically generated explanations for abandoned visits rarely tell the full story but include the following: Shipper-owned empty container not returned, No empty pickup/load receipt,

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Marine Terminal Gate Processing 55 Shipping line rejects the load, Booking not correct for size/type/height of container delivered, Unknown booking number, and Trucking company not authorized for pickup by the ocean carrier (line). When these trouble tickets are entered, there is no comprehensive way to show how or if the issue was eventually resolved. If the truck returns to the terminal later and is successful in entering, a new transaction number is generated. The severity of impact of turnaways on drayage is likely to be less severe for large companies. If there is an irresolvable issue with a container, a large company with a high volume of deliveries is more likely to have a backup job ready for the driver. Further- more, if the turnaway issue is tied to a problem with the driver or the truck, a large company will tend to have an easier time finding another driver as a replacement. Trouble tickets are usually documented in terminal information systems and given a code or phrase describing the reason for exception. One important question is whether the trouble transactions are preventable. In principle, trouble transactions could result from the following: Unfamiliarity or lack of knowledge on the part of the driver, his firm, or the customer (par- ticularly from those that serve the port irregularly); Carelessness on the part of driver, drayage firm, or customer; Information entry, transmission, or system errors; or Carelessness or error on the part of terminal gate or administrative clerks. Figure 71 suggests that most trouble tickets could have been prevented through better pre- arrival communication. One marine terminal provided the study team with a year's worth of detail on trouble ticket rea- son codes. Most of the trouble tickets issued can be categorized as booking, dispatch, or system problems (Table 71). The one line of text that is the "reason code" typically deals only with the immediate symptom of a problem that could have several root causes. About 80% of those trouble tickets are process TROUBLE TICKETS Booking size/type information required Container number unknown Booking not on file Booking tally reached Bill of lading held by line operator Empty to yard position 2008 2007 Empty container not allowed New empty to be on-hired New full container not allowed, must be on-hired No load receipt for containers until (time/date) Trucker contract with line expired New bare chassis not allowed 0 2000 4000 6000 8000 Figure 71. Sample data--leading causes of trouble tickets.

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56 Truck Drayage Productivity Guide Table 71. Reasons for trouble tickets: data from one terminal. Category Reason Share Booking Problems 28.4% Booking does not match equipment type 9.5% Booking is not on file 6.5% Booking tally has already been reached 6.5% Missing notice for hazardous cargo 3.1% Booking quantity exceeded for equipment type 2.8% Dispatch Problems 29.2% Cargo not yet released 8.4% Driver or motor carrier credential problem 6.8% Empty container/chassis not allowed 6.1% Past cargo cutoff 2.9% Demurrage due (unpaid bills) 2.6% Container exceeds maximum safe weight 2.4% System Problems 22.4% Container/chassis not recognized* 17.9% Duplicate transaction 2.3% Container not found in yard 2.2% Other 20.0% Total 100.0% * This category may also include tank, Hazmat, and other unusual loads issues. Booking mistakes by the customer handicaps both the trucker and the terminal because it costs the terminal operator time and money to clear the problem. Analysis of the data leads to the following observations: A small share of the tickets did not represent an error of any kind. For example, one terminal creates a trouble ticket if a driver arrives before all of the container releases have been issued. This facility also serves a particular customer whose boxes are urgently required, and truckers purposefully dispatch drivers to the terminal in advance of the releases, thus guaran- teeing a trouble ticket. About a third of the real trouble tickets are related in some way to lack of correct equipment- related information in the terminal's computer systems. The source of these issues varies from simple clerical data entry error to receiving equipment that the terminal's computer system does not recognize. Another third of the trouble tickets are related in some way to bookings. If the booking is not on file, incorrect in some way, or the dispatch does not match the booking, then trouble tickets are issued. The final third of trouble tickets relate in some way to the lack of correct information being avail- able to motor carrier dispatchers. This manifests itself in a wide variety of "dispatch errors." The most common trucking dispatch problems include the following: The terminal is not accepting return of the type of equipment presently in the custody of the driver. Empty return locations change frequently. The driver or drayage firm may not have the proper credentials available at the terminal. The container may be too early or too late for the outbound vessel cutoff. The container may be overloaded. The driver may be attempting to take the wrong box out of the terminal. It is impossible to accurately assess responsibility for trouble tickets, except on a case-by-case basis. Failure of any of the parties in this complex logistics chain to communicate fully, effectively, and systematically via data interchange, voice, email, or text leads to mistakes by others in the sys- tem. Regardless of the cause, the drayage driver bears the consequence associated with the efficiency depleting trouble ticket process. There is often an important distinction between proximate and underlying causes. At one ter- minal, for example, one of the major reasons for trouble tickets was that the number of export con-

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Marine Terminal Gate Processing 57 tainers received exceeded the total on the export bill of lading ("booking tally reached"). On the surface, this situation would indicate either a paperwork error or an undocumented change of plans by the exporter. On further investigation, however, the research team learned that many such exceptions occurred when an export container arrived at the terminal and was entered into the ter- minal system, but was returned to the exporter for some reason (e.g., documentation error, defec- tive cargo seal). When the export container left the terminal it was not deleted from the information system. When the same container returned, it was double-counted and generated the trouble ticket exception. Driver Experience and Knowledge Less experienced drivers and firms that do not regularly serve the port container terminals tend to generate exceptions and receive trouble tickets much more frequently than drivers and firms that are familiar with terminal systems and their requirements. The data presented in Table 71 and Figure 72 demonstrate the relationship between driver experience and the likelihood of delay due to a trouble ticket. The data are for an entire year and cover 14,199 drivers making almost 600,000 trips. Overall, 5.0% of the driver visits resulted in a trouble ticket. Those drivers making an average of at least one call per day had only a 3.0% trouble ticket rate. The rate rises dramati- cally for inexperienced drivers. Those making an average of at least one call per week averaged 4.4%; those making less than a weekly call averaged 7.8%. There are several instances in which a less experienced driver may arrive at a port terminal. Trucking firms of all kinds typically experience high turnover of both employee drivers and owner subcontractors, so there are often new drivers coming into the pool. Trucking firms that usually handle the domestic business of a low-volume importer or exporter may make occasional trips to the port to maintain their relationship with the customer. Drivers handling seasonal products such as agricultural exports may make only a few trips to the port each year, and may never become fully familiar with terminal operations. Some trucking firms may ordinarily serve only one marine ter- minal due to their customers' ocean carrier preferences. Such firms and their drivers may find Figure 72. Trouble ticket frequency versus driver terminal visits.