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Project Objective:
  • Provide information about containers (status, location, etc.).
  • Facilitate communication between parties (motor carriers, ocean carriers, leasing companies, chassis pool operators), with a view to matching their needs.
  • Permit equipment interchange and other processes to take place without moving the container to the marine terminal.
  • Assist the parties to make optimal decisions regarding container logistics (return, reuse, interchange, etc.), rationalize moves, and plan ahead.
Project Abstract:

Trade imbalances create a substantial problem of empty container handling throughout the US and particularly in port regions and densely populated economic centers, such as the NY-NJ region. The two main aspects of empty container management deal with empty storage accumulation and excessive unproductive empty trips to and from marine terminals and empty depots. The most straight forward and efficient way to minimize unproductive empty trips and associated VMTs and vehicle emissions; and to alleviate marine terminal and depot gate delays, additional road congestion and associated emissions is to maximize chances for direct empty interchange, the so called street turns.

A Virtual Container Yard (VCY) is a mean of developing a shared resource information system to match empty equipment needs through the adoption of next generation internet and new technology information platforms (ex., Virtual Private Networks VPNs and ebXML). The project will examine the feasibility of developing and operating a Virtual Container Yard to serve the freight and maritime community in the NY-NJ region. Definition of user requirements and potential business and institutional impediments in successfully establishing the system will be identified. To support user requirements production and solutions, and to address potential impediments, literature dealing with local, US and International experience in applying web-based shared information systems will be critically reviewed.

Subsequently, the conceptual architecture, specifications and functionalities of the system will be developed based on latest e-business collaborative solutions, systems and protocols. Special attention will be given to systems security architecture to make the application robust and attractive to potential partners. Proprietary products either dealing directly with street-turn matching or with wide range matching applications will be critically evaluated in view of the developed user requirements. Financial and economic evaluation, potential funding alternatives and investment recovery strategies to ensure successful development and long term viability of systems operation, will be presented. Systems governance structure and potential partnership will be investigated and proposed to serve the purpose of long-term sustainability of the system. Finally, a staged application timeline and implementation plan will be produced, to cater for an intermediate pilot demonstration phase, necessary to draw experiences leading to proper full-scale application. The project will provide for an integrated support product to enhance setting up a Virtual Container Yard system application in the NY-NJ region.