Based on the most recently published figures, more than eight million VoyagerTrack’ Web hits were recorded in 2004, representing a 67% increase over its record-breaking 2003 success of 4.8 million, and its usage broke the one-hit-per-second mark during business hours.
As impressive as these numbers are, the latest statistics reveal 2005 usage is outpacing 2004 (for the same period) by another 70%, making it the maritime industry’s leading container terminal integrated management software in North America.
According to Steve Longbotham, Marine Terminals Corp. VP ’ customer technology, VoyagerTrack’s functionality is delivering what the customers want and need to move their cargo as efficiently and quickly as possible through the processes of each terminal.
“The highest value of the system aligns with those time periods of industry issues, such as the labor shortage of the second half of 2004,” Longbotham said.
Several enhancements and modifications to the series of Web sites that cover seven of the busiest container terminals on the US West Coast, proved to be valuable tools during the 2004 West Coast labor shortage and vessel congestion. VoyagerTrack moved towards real-time information about vessel operation, which became important with the delay of vessels out in the harbor last year due to labor shortages. Its Premier Appointment System (PAS), which debuted in 2003, continues to dominate, as the most widely utilized throughout California as well as the entire West Coast.
During 2004, there were times where specific terminals had virtually a 100 percent participation rate for pickup of import containers despite the non-mandatory nature of the system. One such example is Total Terminals International’s Hanjin Terminal at Pier T, in the Port of Long Beach. This facility continues to set records with as many appointments made as import containers picked up, month after month.
As part of the ongoing service to keep VoyagerTrack relevant, Longbotham provides personal instruction for trucking companies so they can maximize benefits from the system’s tools and consults them on what would make it better.
“Other sites never came to the trucking industry to see what they liked and needed,” said Sophia Park, general manager at Harbor Express. “We really appreciated that VoyagerTrack cared to ask us what would make it better for us. They went to all the trucking companies to ask what would make it easier for us and then created it from the feedback. In fact, we just had a meeting at the Hanjin facility about how it would integrate with PierPASS. The presentation was good.”
Park mentioned that Harbor Express “loves” VoyagerTrack and how, compared to other sites, it had more options, was flexible and easy to navigate, and was convenient for making appointments.
“I can make an appointment, cancel it, and then turn around an hour later and make another appointment,” Park said. “All while the driver is on the freeway and will be there in 30 minutes.”
A new module for PAS is soon to be released, which will bring additional value to the users as it goes far beyond just signing up for appointments. The new module will reduce per diem fees and improve equipment management by instantly providing trucking companies with all non-rail import containers not yet returned to the terminal of pickup. New features in the module will allow for advanced resolution of some issues currently only handled upon arrival. This feature is new to the industry as well and will enable trucks to move smoothly through the process upon arrival at a VoyagerTrack terminal.
Users also praise VoyagerTrack’s ability to provide information on multiple containers at once.
“VoyagerTrack is easier and faster because with the others you have to go one-by-one,” said Gabriela Ramirez of Hudd Distribution, Wal-Mart’s vendor. “With VoyagerTrack I can enter a couple containers at the same time ad it gives me all the status information, and if an appointment has been initiated, it lets me know through Event Notification.”