Drayage 101: Completing a Dual Transaction at a Marine Terminal

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Learn what ‘drayage’ is and how NEXT Trucking makes it easier for truck drivers to complete a dual transaction at a marine terminal.

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Drayage is the transportation of containerized freight by truck; typically from a marine terminal to a warehouse for import shipments. Sometimes referred to as “The First Mile”, drayage represents a $50 billion dollar segment of the annual US transportation market.

Moving a loaded import container from a marine terminal to a warehouse takes a tremendous amount of communication and coordination between multiple stakeholders, including the shipper, steamship line, terminal, chassis provider, trucking company, and the warehouse. (Pop-up Fact: Shipment Support)

In the last 5 years alone, over a quarter-billion dollars has been invested in developing technologies that seek to disrupt the drayage industry, by solving the multiple challenges that make up what is considered the most critical, complex, and antiquated part of the global supply chain.

Enter NEXT Trucking, the undisputed leader of the digital drayage revolution. (Pop-up Fact: NEXT Trucking)

NEXT develops drayage technology that simplifies and automates much of the work that shippers and trucking companies struggle with when managing the transportation of a container.

Powered by artificial intelligence, NEXT’s Advanced Trucking & Logistics Automation System, also known as ATLAS, automates the scheduling of appointments at marine terminals and warehouses, efficiently bundles container loads across all of NEXT’s import and export customers to create simple dual transaction jobs, and intelligently matches these jobs to the most qualified trucking company or independent owner operator to maximize their network utilization and earning potential. (Pop-up Fact: Dual Transaction)

Integrated into the NEXT Carrier mobile app, ATLAS automatically collects real-time GPS data while a truck driver is on a job, and, combined with NEXT’s redundant chassis GPS integrations provides shippers with accurate tracking visibility of their drayage containers in the NEXT Shipper Portal or through EDI and API integrations.

In the NEXT Mobile drayage Marketplace, a trucking company or independent owner operator can book recommended dual transaction jobs based on their personal qualifications, preferences, current location, and job history. There’s no need to schedule terminal appointments or worry about managing the last free day and free time expiration dates to avoid demurrage and per diem charges. All appointments are automatically scheduled in advance and all of the job details, document submission requirements, and payment information are provided upfront. With a tap of a button, a dual transaction job is booked and ready to be completed. (Pop-up Facts: Terminal Appointments, Demurrage and Per Diem)

So, what does it take and how else does NEXT make it easier for a truck driver to complete a dual transaction at a marine terminal?

For the first load in this dual transaction job, the truck driver will hook up to the assigned empty container at a NEXT yard and terminate it at the Yusen Terminal in the Port of Los Angeles. (Pop-up Fact: Terminate)

With over 17,000 truck drivers operating in the Los Angeles and Long Beach Port Complex every day, truck traffic can cause a lot of congestion in and around the terminals. For terminals who offer them, the NEXT mobile app provides access to live cameras to give truck drivers advanced real-time visibility of terminal traffic congestion.

When the truck driver arrives at the Yusen Terminal, their truck’s RFID tag is automatically detected, triggering the first of a series of timestamps associated with the truck driver’s turn-time in the terminal. Knowing how long it takes truck drivers to complete a container transaction helps Yusen operations staff keep the terminal running as efficiently as possible. (Pop-up Facts: RFID, Turn Time)

At the TWIC security checkpoint, the truck driver is required to present their TWIC card and state-issued commercial driver’s license to confirm their identity. Once their identity is confirmed, the truck driver enters the terminal’s in-gate queue and proceeds through the entrance OCR portal. Using optical character recognition, high-definition cameras read the truck’s license plate number, the container number, and the chassis number to automatically inform Yusen Terminal’s operating software that a truck driver has arrived to terminate the empty container. (Pop-up Facts: TWIC, OCR)

Before progressing to the ingate pedestal to check-in for their appointment, the truck driver has to quickly park and exit the truck to unlock the chassis pins. This allows the container to be separated from the chassis inside the terminal. For safety reasons, this is one of only two times the truck driver is allowed to exit their truck while on Yusen Terminal property. (Pop-up Fact: Chassis)

By the time the truck driver arrives at the ingate pedestal, a clerk inside the Yusen admin building is able to review the OCR images and see exactly where the empty container needs to be dismounted in the terminal yard. Once the truck driver is successfully checked-in at the pedestal, their in-gate tickets are printed and they can officially enter the terminal. (Pop-up Fact: Gate Clerk)

If the truck driver is unfamiliar with where the assigned dismount location is to terminate the empty container, they can pull over and open the terminal map in the NEXT mobile app to quickly and easily find the dismount location and drive to it. With over 1,100 different container locations in Yusen Terminal’s main yard, easy access to the terminal map keeps truck drivers moving, preventing delays and reducing the risk of detention happening at the terminal. (Pop-up Fact: Detention)

When the truck driver arrives at the dismount location, an operator in a specialized piece of equipment called a top handler directs them into a designated spot, removes the container from the chassis, and places the empty container in the container stack. Now that the empty container is officially terminated, the first load of the truck driver’s dual transaction job is done. (Pop-up Fact: Top Handler)

To complete the second load of the dual transaction, the truck driver will take the chassis to another location in the terminal yard, get their assigned loaded import container mounted to the chassis, and deliver it to the designated warehouse. Reusing the same chassis from the empty container better utilizes the chassis equipment, prevents the shipper from having to pay a chassis split charge, and saves the truck driver from having to find a different chassis for the second load. (Pop-up Fact: Chassis Split)

When the truck driver arrives at the loaded import container location, two operators are there to assist. The first operator on the ground guides the truck driver into position and communicates with the second operator in the rubber tire gantry crane, who picks up the loaded import container from the stack and mounts it onto the chassis. (Pop-up Fact: Rubber Tire Gantry Crane)

Before the truck driver can leave the terminal to deliver the loaded import container, they have to first pass through “Roadability” for a chassis safety inspection. Truck drivers who bring their own company chassis are typically waved through, as they are responsible for their own chassis maintenance and safety inspections. (Pop-up Fact: Roadability)

After “Roadability”, the exit OCR portal’s high-definition cameras read the truck’s license plate number, the container number, and the chassis number to automatically alert Yusen Terminal’s operating software that the loaded import container is about to be outgated.

As the truck driver progresses through the radiation portal, an X-ray scan of the container’s contents is captured by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. This ensures no unlawful or dangerous cargo makes it out of the terminal without proper documentation. (Pop-up Facts: Radiation Portal, U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

The second, and only other time, the truck driver is allowed to safely exit their truck on Yusen Terminal property is here in the outgate queue, to lock the chassis pins. This keeps the loaded import container secured to the chassis while it’s on the road.

By the time the truck driver gets to the outgate Pedestal, if Yusen Terminal’s operating software confirms everything is in order, the gate will automatically open and they can leave the terminal to deliver the loaded import container to the designated warehouse.

Depending on the time of day, it can take a truck driver between 30 and 90 minutes to complete a dual transaction at a marine terminal. (Thanks for watching!)

To learn more about the dual transaction process or the exciting future of drayage technology, please contact NEXT Trucking at draytech@nexttrucking.com.

A special thank you to our friends at Yusen Terminals LLC, the Port of Los Angeles, and the ILWU for their assistance with this production.

Drayage 101: Pop-up Facts

Shipment Support
Depending on the shipper’s supply chain, they may also need an NVOCC, Freight Forwarder, and/or Freight Broker - up to 8 different service providers - just to move a single container.

NEXT Trucking
Since 2015, NEXT has moved over $50 billion in cargo and developed today’s most advanced drayage, transload, and full truckload technology to simplify modern logistics.

Dual Transaction
This happens when a truck driver is able to terminate an empty container and pick up a loaded import container from the same terminal during the same appointment time.

Terminal Appointments
Due to multiple factors, it can sometimes take trucking companies up to 5 days to secure a terminal ingate or outgate appointment for a single container.

Demurrage and Per Diem
These accessorial fees can result in millions of dollars in unplanned costs for shipping companies each year. Demurrage fees accrue every day a container is not outgated after its last free day at the terminal. Per Diem fees accrue every day an empty container is not ingated back at the terminal after its free time expires.

This means to ingate, return, or deliver an empty container back to a marine terminal. To avoid Per Diem charges, the container has to be terminated before its free time expires.

Short for Radio Frequency Identification, RFIDs work by transmitting & receiving information via radio waves that software can use to track vehicles, pets, luggage, etc.

Turn Time
This is the total duration between the truck driver’s arrival to and departure from the marine terminal.

Short for Transportation Worker Identification Credential, getting a TWIC requires the person to be fingerprinted and pass a criminal background check. Because of this, TWIC holders are prequalified for TSA pre-check and can enjoy skipping the security line at the airport when traveling.

Optical Character Recognition is an image processing and AI technology that can read, interpret, and convert text or handwriting into usable data for software applications.

A chassis is a trailer frame with wheels and air brakes. The pins lock the container to the chassis, so it can be safely transported on the highway.

Gate Clerk
An individual gate clerk at the Yusen terminal can process more than 300 container ingate transactions per day.

Also known as “Wait Time”, trucking companies charge shippers this accessorial fee when it takes their driver more than 2 hours to complete a terminal or warehouse transaction.

Top Handler
Able to quickly stack, move, and transport containers around the terminal yard, a top handler can stack containers up to five high and lift up to 90,000 lbs.

Chassis Split
This occurs when a chassis drop-off location is different than the container dismount location, resulting in extra work for the truck driver and an accessorial fee charged to the shipper.

Rubber Tire Gantry Crane
Operating above as many as 8 container rows and a truck lane, an RTG can stack containers up to 6 high and lift over 130,000 lbs.

To comply with U.S. Federal law, chassis equipment must be systematically inspected, repaired, and maintained to safely transport containers over the road.

Radiation Portal
Similar to an airport luggage scanner, the radiation portal produces a high-resolution image of the freight inside the loaded import container.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection
If something in the image looks suspicious, CBP can put the container on ‘hold’, requiring it to be opened and pass a physical inspection before it can leave terminal property.


Series Summary:

NEXT Trucking collaborates with terminals, steamship lines, rail companies, and other industry stakeholders and thought leaders to showcase an inside look at modern logistics and technology. Watch below to learn more.
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