The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority works with supply chain partners and port stakeholders to build future capacity through increased efficiency. The port authority’s emphasis on data visibility and transparency, as well as efficiency improvements aimed at optimizing land and marine operations across the supply chain, help improve overall supply chain performance.

Collecting, analyzing and reporting on data allows the port authority to assess how well the gateway is operating. Early warning indicators derived from reporting can help initiate discussions and support major capital decisions and future planning. Leveraging supply chain data can help optimize the Vancouver-area gateway’s existing infrastructure. Customers and users also benefit from several real-time monitoring programs and digital platforms to help keep them informed and enable them to anticipate, plan and respond effectively to operational matters.

The Supply Chain Visibility Project was launched in 2015 and received a $250,000 matching grant in August 2017 from the federal government to assess real-time information on supply chain performance for all bulk cargo moving to and from the port. This joint effort between Transport Canada and the port authority serves to provide visibility into current supply chain performance, better identify rail and road bottlenecks, support the prioritization of infrastructure projects and optimize existing operations. The initial pilot project tracks bulk grain, coal and fertilizer rail shipments near real-time from the inner provinces of origin through to Vancouver marine terminals to vessels. Future phases will include other commodities, such as forest products and container shipments, for both imports and exports. The data is made available through a dashboard for all those participating in the project, including both CN, CP, terminal operators, Transport Canada and other supply chain participants.

Additionally, to help increase visibility of the supply chain, terminal-level container rail performance updates are provided by the port authority. These include summaries of the import rail footage on-dock, the estimated planned car supply, and the actual rail car production on a daily basis.

As a key initiative of the port authority’s Smart Fleet Trucking Strategy, all port-licensed trucks are equipped with global positioning systems (GPS). GPS data collected from trucks with terminal information has been used to improve real-time performance reporting and capture more accurate truck turn and wait times at container handling facilities. Summary data reports for each container terminal are updated weekly and monthly. Aggregated average turn times are shown based on data from the full fleet of port-licensed trucks. The trucking GPS project has contributed to improved turn times in the drayage sector.

The Container Vessel On-time Performance Incentive program recognizes container vessel operators that arrive on schedule, and thereby contribute to overall supply chain consistency. In support of this program, the port authority reports monthly on gateway vessel on-time performance. Vessel on-time arrival is measured within +8 hours of berth window start for the Container Vessel On-Time Incentive Program. In recognition of industry standards, the port authority also reports vessel on-time performance within +24 hours of scheduled berth window start.

The port authority also partnered with Transport Canada and shipping lines to provide accurate cargo forecasts approximately two weeks prior to their arrival, allowing supply chain service-providers to anticipate and plan operations more effectively.

Investments have been made by the port authority in digital platforms to provide access to various real-time road and rail metrics, camera feeds and other pertinent information to increase visibility over supply chain performance. The new Logistics and Operations Portal was created in late-2017. This portal is designed to help port users find operational information relevant to their sector and industry. Features include rail, road and vessel dashboards, security clearance and port pass information, various access routes, weather data and information about the port’s four container terminals. The portal also includes a live Twitter feed for the latest social media updates from Port of Vancouver Land Operations: @PortVanOps.

The port authority continues to post supply chain performance metrics on its website and on its new mobile app, PortVan eHub, which gives port users real-time monitoring of activities like terminal operating status, truck turn times, vessel information, rail crossing activity, and interactive maps. The port authority also provides webcam feeds and a GPS dashboard.

Using these tools, in conjunction with various data collection and reporting initiatives across the supply chain, port users can access the latest information to make better, more informed decisions. Collaborative leadership among the port authority, government and industry stakeholders has led to significant advancement in visibility and transparency initiatives, creating capacity through a more efficient gateway.