APM Terminals tests out trucker initiatives

APM Terminals tests out trucker initiatives

APM Terminals (APMT) is testing a number of initiatives across 10 terminals in an effort to improve the experience for truckers.

The projects have been developed using the operator’s improvement cycle (I-cycle) methodology, which is being used company-wide.

Interviews with more than 200 truck drivers in 2018 indicated that truck drivers and dispatchers need clear, relevant, and timely information around the process of delivering and picking up containers. This helps them to plan their days/trips to the terminal as efficiently as possible.

The results also identified the lack of a channel for truck drivers to provide terminals with honest and timely feedback.

Subject matter experts from each terminal developed several solutions and prototypes which were tested with a group of truck drivers and dispatchers during a design workshop held in Port Elizabeth, USA.

At selected terminals, known operational issues are being announced via an alert message on the terminal’s website. As of September 2019, truckers will be able to sign up to receive these alerts via text message or email.

Fran Ohlheiser, client services manager at APMT Los Angeles, said: “This enables truckers to proactively adjust their schedule and gives them a clearer understanding of any delays.

The company is also working on increasing the number of terminals with live gate cameras available on its website so that drivers can see the status at the gate in real time.

At APMT Los Angeles, queue and truck-turn-times are displayed on information boards along the 1.5-mile approach to the facility.

In other initiatives, facilities like APMT Gothenburg now text or email their drivers in advance to warn them when their terminal documentation is due to expire, helping to reduce unexpected delays. Estimated truck turn times are displayed at the gate at the Swedish terminal.

The global operator is also currently developing an online solution to display real0time waiting times and turn times at each terminal on its website.

Trucker care agents have been appointed at the pilot terminals to provide information to truckers in the case of unavoidable delays.

Their aim is to work to limit the delay, hand out refreshments and listen to the frustrations and concerns of drivers.

Catherine Hunt, gate operations manager at APMT Port Elizabeth, said: “This level of emotional recognition for having this structurally in place should not be underestimated.

“Sometimes it’s not operationally feasible to move a piece of equipment from one congested area of the yard to service a single driver, but it is possible for us to apologise, and ensure that drivers know they are valued customers and their business and time matters.”

APMT Port Elizabeth has launched an automated iDashboard to provide gate and yard staff with a breakdown of transactions for the next 120 minutes, enabling trucker care agents to locate drivers with longer transaction times.

At APMT Valencia, agents currently visit truckers who have been waiting more than 70 minutes. They are using the feedback provided to prevent future delays.

While the initiatives are at various stages of implementation across different terminals, the positive impact is already being measured using truck driver’s NPS score, together with nine other measures for each solution.