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Truck drivers encouraged to use in-cab information system

Fremantle Ports is encouraging more truck drivers servicing Fremantle Inner Harbour to use an automated messaging system available for delivery to their cab.
  • Landside
  • Published 6 Sep 2019

Fremantle Ports is encouraging more truck drivers servicing Fremantle Inner Harbour to use an automated messaging system available for delivery to their cab.

Most truck operators already have in-cab telematic devices in their trucks; they just need to ask their telematics device provider for the service.

The messaging system is one initiative providing better coordination of heavy vehicles moving in and out of the North Quay-Rous Head precinct.

The automated messaging system (also known as TIX - Truck Information Exchange) that is part of Fremantle Ports’ Truck Control System (TCS) has been live since April 2017.

‘We’re aware that most truck operators already have in-cab telematic devices in their trucks, so it’s a matter of raising driver awareness of the TIX’s existence and encouraging its use,’ said Fremantle Ports Principal Logistics Analyst, Michael Pal.

‘We want drivers to request this ‘value-add’ service from their telematics device provider because if they have information about what’s happening at the port, they can make better decisions,’ he said.

Information is available about early slot openings, truck turn times and situations where trucks might benefit by temporarily avoiding the port precinct for reasons such as congestion or severe weather.

‘Drivers obviously don’t want to be travelling to North Fremantle to find they need to wait unnecessarily, causing down-time and an opportunity cost for them, and broader environmental and supply chain efficiency impacts,’ he said.

Mr Pal said fleet controllers generally worked from early in the morning until mid to late-afternoon, yet most early slot-openings occurred from 5pm onwards and on weekends.

While this information is displayed on variable message boards at the port, the greatest potential for efficiency is if information goes straight to the driver, wherever they may be.

Fremantle Ports has consistently pursued innovation in the freight and logistics arena and is committed to ensuring freight access to the Inner Harbour is as efficient and seamless as possible. Annual truck surveys point to industry trends and identify priority issues.

‘Innovation is a collaborative journey. We’ve long recognised that we will achieve the best outcomes by working closely and continuously with truck operators, fleet controllers, shipping agents, technology providers and relevant government agencies.’

Annual surveying has shown that the number of container truck movements on Tydeman Rd, North Fremantle has been going down since 2014.

Last year, the number of trucks was about the same as in 2010 even though container trade has increased 38 per cent since then.

More containers are being moved on rail and trucks are carrying more (fewer trucks running with empty loads).

Mr Pal said technology was transforming freight and logistics networks worldwide and ports were leading in this space.

There are about 30,000 approved telematic in-vehicle units in trucks in Australia and 500 target devices in WA that regularly receive automated messages from Fremantle Ports.

‘If we can maximise the number of drivers getting information, everybody wins,’ Mr Pal said.

Fremantle Ports’ Truck Control System project has been conducted in collaboration with Main Roads WA and Transport Certification Australia (TCA), which is the national regulating body for telematic in-vehicle units. Most companies operate TCA-approved devices.

The system has won two State and three national transport and supply chain awards.

Mr Pal said the future was bright because as the system expanded, there would be more and richer information available to share, such as live truck turn times at key sites.

Research shows that best-practice ports overseas are moving in this same direction, empowering drivers by delivering information direct to their cabs.

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