Port reforms to cut truck operator costs

Paperless processing to be introduced at Port Botany amid claims it will significantly slash trucking operator costs and improve productivity

Paperless processing will this year be introduced at Port Botany, which the NSW Government claims will significantly slash trucking operator costs and improve productivity.

The Port Road Taskforce this week agreed to move to paperless processing at both terminals in the second half of 2009.

Minister for Ports and Waterways Joe Tripodi supported the move, which was trialled as part of the Port Botany Landside Improvement Strategy, an initiative designed to reduce truck congestion and turnaround times.

Tripodi says the trial resulted in a 10 percent improvement in truck turnaround times when compared to manual processing.

"The move from manual to paperless processing has the potential for substantial cost savings for truck operators and their clients," Tripodi says.

"For the trucking industry, the savings could amount to tens of thousands of dollars per week, and even more in peak demand periods such as Christmas."

He says about 40 percent of trucks were processed through the paperless system.

As part of the trial, the taskforce looked at turnaround times from queue arrival to exit on a 24-hour, weekly basis rather than the traditional in-gate, out-gate method.

It agreed to use 60 minutes as a baseline during the trial. Tripodi says between 83 and 87 percent of trucks were serviced within the set baseline, while the average turnaround times varied between 40 and 45 minutes.

However, he says this is not an agreed industry benchmark but merely a trial baseline against which to measure current performance to help develop agreed benchmarks at the end of the trial process.

The trial also used a vehicle booking system, with 81 percent of trucks arriving within the set time slot period.

Tripodi says 10 percent arrived early, with 4 percent coming late and another 5 percent arriving without a booking.

The trial also examined container dwell times and found 95 percent were removed within 3 days, prompting Tripodi to label it "an excellent achievement for the industry and in line with world’s best practice".

IPART last year recommended a number of reforms to Port Botany to increase efficiency. The Government pledged to give industry time to develop initiatives before intervening.

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