July 18, 2022
Finding efficiency as dwell times soar

Over the last twenty-four months, widespread interruption to supply chains has hit the headlines in the UK and globally. Port congestion challenges have led to increased dwell times and delayed deliveries. Some of the most frequent extra costs are demurrage, detention, inland storage and rental charges.

Now more than ever, the need for real-time visibility and traceability of the container management lifecycle are top of mind for customers.

In conjunction with its existing detention, demurrage and equipment positioning management capabilities, the TOPS container control module ensures shippers, forwarders, and road and rail operators have a real-time influence on their container movements and the associated costs.

By positioning a free time demurrage and detention calculator on the traffic sheet, the TOPS container control module allows users to prioritise those incurring the highest cost and get more value from quay evacuation resources. Transparent reporting of container stock and cost control, plus intelligent projections based on accurate information harvested from integrated port systems, enable TopsTMS® customers to make informed and proactive decisions about what containers to move.

In addition to the real-time visibility of off-dock storage, the container control tool automates the difficult task of managing the movements and storage fees of high numbers of containers. As well as saving money by avoiding unnecessary costs, the TOPS container control module reduces time spent on data entry and paper handling, eliminating human error and improving logistics planning efficiency. The automation of stock management allows staff to spend their time on non-administrative tasks, increasing productivity.

The latest addition to the TOPS container control module is the ‘quay rent and detention control’ element. One screen allows users to estimate, track and record quay rent and detention costs and add demurrage and detention accruals to jobs.

Ligentia transport manager Matt Cotcher said: “The benefits of the data now available to us are twofold. Real-time visibility of the container lifecycle means we can interpret the data and plan or amend it appropriately. The facility to manage inland storage, rental charges, and container location and contents cannot be underestimated.

”And by accessing historical data, we have been able to improve our strategic planning. For example, we can predict the complete costs for the container rather than those related to the transport, limiting the unknown and providing more precise guidance on shippers’ costs.”

Jim Slade, projects director at Fargo Systems, comments: “The container control module used with TOPS existing detention, demurrage and equipment tracking functionality gives clients the complete view of the container lifecycle management. The cost and revenue accruals per job automatically feed into the sales and purchase invoicing modules, increasing efficiency. That means TOPS can offer 100% stock management and cost visibility. With real-time data, you can make informed and proactive decisions in the event of delays and mitigate demurrage, detention and storage fees.”