Once container information is verified, drivers receive destination information and decide whether to drop the container there or at the nearest depot.  -  Photo: IMC Companies

Once container information is verified, drivers receive destination information and decide whether to drop the container there or at the nearest depot.

Photo: IMC Companies

Marine drayage company IMC Companies has created its own proprietary version of the “peel pile” process via its SmartStacks mobile app.

In a peel pile process, drivers pull up to the indicated "pile" and take the top container from the terminal to "peel" from the pile, versus waiting for a specific container that could be located anywhere in the pile. However, these peel piles are typically used only by the largest importers with hundreds of containers on one ship, so the impact on drayage movement is not that strong, company officials explain in a press release.

With IMC's SmartStacks, the containers of multiple shippers are placed into the same peel pile. Using the SmartStacks app, drivers see the container’s destination and can choose to deliver the container to its final destination or instead bring it to a nearby IMC depot.

With this new methodology, IMC officials say the company has tripled driver productivity, eliminated wasted lifts, and made cargo more accessible. The process has decreased container dwell time from 12 days to under two days and has reduced fuel usage and truck emissions by cutting idling time by 67%. In addition, SmartStacks improves chassis utilization and facilitates empty container returns.

“We wanted to improve the overall process for our customers, drivers and the industry,” said Mason George, president of national accounts at IMC Companies. “This new process not only gets containers out of the gate faster; it gives drivers the freedom to choose based on their own schedule and hours, provides the speed, attention, and faster throughput at port facilities, and improves the environmental impact caused by idling vehicles.  For these reasons, we consider SmartStacks to be the biggest breakthrough in drayage since the container.”

To learn more about SmartStacks, view this informative video about how the process works.

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