APM Terminals Ecuador improves efficiency and reduces complexity
Increasing global trade over the past few years has not been without its challenges for the logistics industry. Rapid increases in volumes in some markets - such us Ecuador - has led to inefficiencies and increased complexity.
APM Terminals Inland Services Ecuador is one of several APM Terminals’ facilities that has been proactively addressing such issues. Unpredictable gate turnaround times for truckers, for example, is not only an inefficient use of time, but was having a serious impact on banana exports in Ecuador. If fruit isn’t stuffed into the container on time, the quality of the produce suffers.
Truck appointment system
The solution at APM Terminals Inland Services Ecuador, was the introduction of an accurate and reliable Truck Appointment System (TAS). This approach has already proved itself at other APM Terminals’ facilities, including neighbouring Peru. The system allows for much better co-ordination of arrivals and departures leading to significantly shorter wait times for trucks.
The system now allows truck arrivals at the facility to be spread evenly throughout the day with a truck turnaround time of just 45 minutes. Containers are arriving faster, reducing the risk of produce damage and truckers are improving their fleet utilisation.
Improved yard planning
"The visibility provided by the system also results in better yard planning, as there are a fixed maximum number of appointments per shift and we know in advance when the 'busy' periods will be. We are able to assign resources - equipment, people - in a more efficient way without sacrificing service," says Fohodil Galeas, general manager at APM Terminals Inland Services Ecuador.
The web-based system can be easily accessed via smartphone, tablet or computer. Customers register once to get a user ID and password and are then able to book appointments. They input booking details provided by the shipping line, which are then validated with the terminal operating system to see whether the booking exists and checks if there are containers still pending to be dispatched for that booking. If those conditions are met, then the customer can see available time slots and chose the most convenient for them.
Appointments can be changed or cancelled up to two hours prior to the original appointment. To accommodate unavoidable delays, a flexibility of 30 minutes either side of the appointment is built in.
Plans are also in the pipeline to enable online payments for customers with no credit line.
Inland trucking service
APM Terminals in Ecuador recently achieved a significant milestone in providing end-to-end solutions for clients, with the addition of an inland trucking service. The service is currently open to customers that have import or export activity with Maersk or Sealand.
Bookings can be made via Maersk's sales team. This means that customers have just one point of contact for ocean and land transport, and the rest of the coordination is taken care of by the local teams.