The Port of Tacoma and the Port of Portland are the winners of the second annual AAPA Information Technology Awards competition, organized by the Information Technology Committee. These awards were developed to recognize and highlight the great progress that ports are making with regard to technology and port operations. Five judges selected one winner from each of two categories, Port Operations & Management Systems and Improvements in Intermodal Freight Transportation.
The Port of Tacoma’s on-dock intermodal rail operations have grown steadily since their start in the early 1980’s. For example, in 2002 the number of lifts was up 37% over 2001. With the ever-growing volume of containers moving via rail and the realization that only a limited amount of rail infrastructure can be built, the Port set out to develop optimal methods of planning traffic flow within the existing rail infrastructure.
The endeavor resulted in a project to provide automated rail planning and data dissemination tools to the port operations personnel and port customers. The project was accomplished in three separate phases:
Web-based automation of Eastbound Rail Planning Tool
Implementation of a rail infrastructure utilization program
Web-based rail infrastructure and train status display and inquiry
Improvements in Intermodal Freight Transportation Port of Portland LOADMAX River Level Forecast System
LOADMAX is a system that monitors and reports actual and forecasted river levels for the Columbia River shipping channel.
The river channel is maintained to a depth of 40 feet but often is deeper due to the influence of other variables. LOADMAX provides river forecasts based on a number of data streams that it synthesizes, including outflows from dams, meteorological data, tide data and channel cross-sectionals. By utilizing the information from LOADMAX, the ship captain has the opportunity to load to deeper draft and still maintain planned levels of under keel clearance.
LOADMAX provides important planning information to enable pilots and ship captains to fully utilize the 40-foot channel.