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80 Truck Drayage Productivity Guide drayage firms and ocean carriers. Such issues arising at entrance gates are likely to result in trou- ble tickets. Issues arising over damage to the container or chassis also will result in a trouble ticket and a delay. Empty containers returned with soiling or the remnants of packing materials are a special problem for drayage drivers. In principle, the driver should have checked the interior con- dition when picking up the empty container form the consignee. Time pressure or recalcitrant employees at the consignee's loading dock may, however, saddle the driver with a dirty or clut- tered unit. If so, the driver must empty and clean the unit before it will be accepted at the marine terminal. Too often, the driver winds up dumping any remnants of packing, broken pallets, and other debris by the side of the road or in a vacant lot. Because the ultimate origin and destination of the box and chassis are uncertain at time of pick up, the motor carriers have sought relief under the provisions of the UIIA, which obligates the motor carrier only to return the equipment to the pick-up point. Motor Carrier Shuttles and Drayoffs Motor carriers with nearby terminals often make shuttle moves between marine and motor carrier terminals. These shuttle moves serve some of the following purposes: The shuttle drivers are very savvy regarding marine terminal services and can complete the marine terminal processes more quickly than less experienced drivers. A shuttle may buffer and extend the practical range of a long- or medium-haul operation. The over-the-road driver turns at the local terminal rather than at the marine terminal. The shuttle service may be necessary if the motor carrier's other drivers do not have the proper credentials to enter the marine terminal (TWIC or Sea Link) or has a tractor that does not meet port emission standards. Particularly for firms with company drivers, it may pay a motor carrier to use shuttle moves to fill a driver's work day. Shuttle or drayoff operations break what would have been single trip legs into two parts: a move between marine terminal and motor carrier terminal, and a second trip between the motor carrier terminal and the customer. The reverse takes place on the return trip. These practices add miles and time to the drayage move, but may be the most efficient way for the trucking company to handle business. A handoff is almost certainly preferable to sending a non-eligible or unfamil- iar driver and tractor into the marine terminal. It is likely that these practices will increase with the spread of TWIC, clean truck programs, RFID requirements, and other factors that distinguish port drayage as a specialized business. Increased complexity appears to be a necessary cost of achieving security and emissions goals. The upside of these practices is that more of the drayage business will be handled by knowledge- able, experienced, and specialized firms capable of increasingly efficient port drayage operations. Extra Trip Solutions Planning and Communications In site visits and from other contacts, the study team observed a high degree of operational planning at both marine terminals and drayage firms. Those plans, however, are neither coordi- nated nor shared. Communications are essentially one-way marine terminal Web sites and announcements. Some marine terminal operators use booking and vessel manifest information to gauge likely gate volumes and labor requirements for the next day, but most confine that plan- ning effort to labor that handles the CY and the vessel.

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Extra Drayage Trips 81 Drayage firms around the country have repeatedly expressed a desire for stable, predictable, and coordinated operating practices among the marine terminals at a port. These include The same gate hours and functions at all terminals, The same identification and documentation requirements at all terminals, and Consistent empty return instructions that do not change from day to day or on short notice. The main function of a marine terminal is to unload and load the vessels of its primary cus- tomer, the ocean carrier. All other terminal functions, including efficient handling of drayage requirements, are subordinated to vessel handling. This reality is reflected in the common practice of marine terminals to close off portions of the terminal to drayage drivers or restrict the drayage functions available while working a ship. These are practices that result in drayage dry runs and delays. Equipment control (i.e., management of containers and chassis) is an important marine ter- minal and ocean carrier function but apparently does not receive full attention in the presence of vessel handling requirements. A 2003 study4 of empty container logistics in Southern Califor- nia found that ocean carrier and marine terminal equipment control personnel waited until excess empties accumulated in the terminal before having them drayed to an off-terminal depot. It was confirmed that common terminal operating systems permitted proactive equipment con- trol by issuing alternative empty return instructions when the loaded container was released, but that feature was not being used. Experienced and well-organized drayage firms can attempt to optimize operations under almost any circumstances if those circumstances are reasonably stable and consistent. Inconsis- tent and unstable circumstances put up barriers to efficient dispatching and operations that ulti- mately cost drayage firms and their customers time and money. It would be unreasonable to expect joint planning between multiple marine terminals, mul- tiple ocean carriers, and hundreds of drayage firms. It would appear reasonable, however, for marine terminals to set empty return instructions proactively so that they could remain unchanged for a week or more. It also would be valuable for marine terminals to provide advance notice of any changes in gate hours, functional restrictions, or other changes that should be reflected in drayage dispatch plans. 4 The Tioga Group, Inc., Empty Ocean Container Logistics Study, Gateway Cities Council of Governments, Port of Long Beach, and Southern California Association of Governments, May 2002.