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NWSA launches new mobile apps


The Northwest Seaport Alliance has announced that it will launch two new mobile applications early November to help speed the flow of containers through port facilities and along local freight corridors, reduce idling-related air emissions and save fuel.

DrayQTM aims to give truck drivers real-time information about wait times in and around marine cargo terminals, and DrayLinkTM will interconnect the drayage community to better dispatch, track and record container moves from pickup to delivery.

The apps were designed specifically for, and in partnership with, the port industry to align with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Connected Vehicle Freight Advanced Traveler Information System (FRATIS) architecture and StrongPorts initiative.

DrayQ is the first mobile app in the market to use Bluetooth technology to provide real-time estimates of drayage truck wait times at ports and terminals. The app also provides trend information and traffic camera views at the touch of a fingertip.

Drivers can use the app to determine the optimum time to enter a terminal and reduce the time spent in traffic, which helps reduce air emissions from idling and saves fuel. For dispatchers or shippers, it helps to optimize schedules and improve customer expectations.

“DrayQ gives me the information I need in real time so I can better plan my dray moves,” independent truck driver Ramon Anderson said. “In this business, time is money, and it pays to know your wait.” 

“On a user’s mobile device, DrayQ lists the NWSA’s terminals and the real-time waits at each, including trends throughout the day,” said Tim Ebner, the alliance’s liaison to the DrayQ project. “The alliance also will provide the information on its website and to both the Seattle and Washington State transportation departments.”

The second app, DrayLink, is designed to help interconnect the drayage community by offering a single common operating tool for drivers, dispatchers, terminal operators and shippers to help move containers smarter.

Like DrayQ, DrayLink also provides real-time information on street and terminal wait times, but offers greater functionality using the power of Google Analytics, GPS data, and geofencing that enables users to track and record cargo moves and generate useful tailored reports. Working with Google, DrayLink plans to leverage their Map API Engine for wait-time predictions and trends.

Drivers using DrayLink can view wait time information in real time in the same common format as DrayQ. Wait times are determined when the driver’s smartphone reporting GPS data passes through predefined geofences set in the streets leading to the terminal entry, within the terminal boundaries and also at any set “geofences within geofences” so that specific times within areas of a terminal yard can be monitored and recorded.

“DrayLink provides a single robust platform using the FRATIS model so that dispatchers and terminal operators can more effectively collaborate to better manage drayage movements,” said Ron Stuart, the alliance’s DrayQ project manager. “For shippers, DrayLink provides a way to automate tracking, tracing and reporting notifications that improves overall in-transit visibility for cargo owners. For terminal operators, DrayLink can provide advanced arrival info and credential checks for faster gate transactions.”

Another feature of DrayLink is the ability to receive and aggregate various sources of data feeds, such as GPS from fleet vehicles already equipped with devices, other third-party smartphone GPS apps, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi sensing and RFID or toll-tag data. Aggregating this available data benefits the drayage community by improving data quality and reporting accuracy.

“Some large carriers have installed GPS devices to track their vehicles and are willing to contribute sharing their real-time data feeds to benefit the overall dray industry,” said Taso Zografos of Leidos, Inc., developer of the apps. “Our approach is to do the work on our end to make it easy to receive their data feeds seamlessly and at no additional cost. Carriers have invested their own money in technology and as they are willing to share their data for the greater good of the industry, we feel compelled to contribute in that cause as well. The key to realizing improvement and benefits is through open collaboration and shared data usage.”

Separately, DrayLink will be available for download from the app stores to the estimated 400,000 drayage drivers performing drayage at marine ports, intermodal yards and border crossings across the U.S. 

“Our strategy to offer two separate apps is paving the way to accelerate adoption along two fronts: by giving port authorities a solution like DrayQ they can implement for their customers while simultaneously offering the drayage industry DrayLink that delivers functionality and benefits tailored to meet the needs of drivers, dispatchers, terminal operators and shippers,” Zografos said.

DrayQ and DrayLink will be available early November for free download and available for both iOS and Android smart phones and tablets.

Source & Image credit: The Northwest Seaport Alliance 

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