Ports around the country are looking for ways to make operations more efficient while lessening their impact on the surrounding environment. Now it's the Port of Oakland's turn. Joining with local transportation, trade and technology interests, the port recently unveiled an advanced transport communications system to improve the visibility of trucked containers as they move to and from the docks. Part of a new program known as Port of Oakland Truck Tracker (PTT), the initiative relies on technology from a trio of providers: GPS-enabled mobile phones from Sprint Nextel, tracking software from Xora, and container-transaction processing from International Asset Systems (IAS). Together they will monitor local trucks on a real-time basis, covering the movement of containers as they near the port, or are delivered to Northern California retailers and distribution centers. With the press of a single button on a Sprint phone, a driver can confirm that cargo has been picked up or delivered. Information is transmitted via satellite to the IAS Hub, a common operating platform for container moves. Running in test mode since 2006, the PTT is already being used by more than 200 truckers and two major ocean carriers, according to the port. One iteration of the system is IAS-Trinium, a joint venture between IAS and Trinium Technologies, who have fashioned a real-time link between Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. and its house trucking line, Central Cal Transportation. According to the principals, the system plugs up a "black hole" in the "first and last mile" of a container's journey, a problem that had delayed the relaying of some essential data by up to 48 hours. Now dispatch and delivery updates are conveyed instantaneously, and truckers spend less time waiting at terminal gates. The resulting drop in congestion lessens vehicle emissions, the participants said. Also taking part in the innovative project are the Bay Area World Trade Center and Walsh Wireless, a Sprint Business Solutions Partner.
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