Moves to help spread load at port

TRUCKERS are to be asked to pre-book their visits to the Port of Felixstowe to help spread the container terminal's workload throughout the day.At the moment there are 4,000-plus lorries which visit the port each day and this number will grow considerably - probably more than 50 per cent - as the port expands in the next decade.

TRUCKERS are to be asked to pre-book their visits to the Port of Felixstowe to help spread the container terminal's workload throughout the day.

At the moment there are 4,000-plus lorries which visit the port each day and this number will grow considerably - probably more than 50 per cent - as the port expands in the next decade.

But of those 4,000 lorries, more than 1,600 arrive within a six-hour period, the peak coming between 4pm and 7pm each day, even though the port is open 24 hours a day.

Now the port is to introduce a Vehicle Booking System (VBS), similar to that at Southampton, to try to increase the efficiency of the of the storage yards at the port and improve service to hauliers.


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Drivers will be asked to pre-book a container delivery or collection time and will be allocated hour-long time slots for their visit.

As well as creating a better spread of work throughout the day and removing the peak time problems, it will virtually eliminate the rejections that happen to 15pc of drivers who arrive at the gates with incorrect or incomplete paperwork because documents can be prepared in advance.

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The new system will be web-based and set limits on how many truckers can visit in each hour based on the number of vehicles which can be processed in that time.

There will also be limits on hauliers to stop firms hoarding bookings but these levels will not restrict the largest hauliers from operating normally.

It will be a free to join system though there will be charges for peak period bookings of £2, late changes of information £1, or failure to turn up at the allotted time, £21.

Drivers who arrive at the port without a booking will not be allowed to wait inside the port in order to avoid queuing problems.

A spokesman for the port said: “The port is intending to introduce VBS in early 2007. It will be inviting hauliers to take part in initial trials of the system towards the end of this year.

“It is the port's intention to develop the system taking into account the views and observations of its customers, at every stage of the implementation process. The port will ensure that all interested parties are made aware of the date for mandatory compliance with VBS well in advance.”

WEBLINK: www.portoffelixstowe.co.uk/vbs

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