Internet technology may soon improve the troublesome workaday world of dock appointments -- which probably account for more grief than any other segment of the truck transportation cycle.

CarrierPoint, the Atlanta-based Internet transportation marketplace, is developing a program to put pickup and delivery appointments on the Internet where they can be viewed by shipper, receiver or carrier and changed by any of them.
In theory, at least, drivers who anticipate arriving earlier or later than scheduled could change pickup and delivery appointments remotely. Of course, all access to the online schedule will be at the option of the shipper or receiver.
CarrierPoint president and CEO Brian Kinsey described the Internet product in an interview with Heavy Duty Trucking magazine: "It's a completely customizable system that can be adapted for as many dock doors as a shipper or receiver has.
"It enables a shipper for example to have a dock schedule seen by as many people as they want -- including the carriers. It allows a carrier to read the schedule electronically at the shipper's option so that if he's going to be late for his appointment, he can change an appointment -- if the shipper allows that.''
According to Kinsey, dynamic dock schedules on the Internet could have an impact on future trucking productivity, since the ability to reschedule appointments will help drivers make better use of on-duty time.
"Not wasting time at the dock is going to be a very major issue. I think ultimately the new hours-of-service rule is going to be time on duty without regard to driving and not-driving time," he said.
The system will even be useful to receivers who don't control their inbound freight but do want to control their dock operations.
"So when they start making people schedule themselves in advance, they don't have 300 trucks lined up the door at 8:00 in the morning waiting," he explained.
Before heading up CarrierPoint, Kinsey was Vice President with Landstar Systems and Executive Vice President with Landstar Inway.
According to Kinsey, the scheduling system will launch officially on January 1, 2001, with CarrierPoint acting as an ASP (Application Service Provider). Currently in beta tests, the program is unofficially called Dock Door.