GLOBAL port operator International Container Terminal Services, Inc. expects improved truck and traffic management early next year following the introduction of its radio frequency identification (RFID) tagging system for trucks inside the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT).
“The service will improve truck management and traffic management immensely,” MICT general manager Christian Gonzalez told PortCalls in an email.
“This will, however, only occur when the full system is up and running; we expect this to be as early as Holy Week 2014 but no later than July,” he added.
The three-month-old project was soft-launched in September 2013. Gonzalez said “during this process, we have been testing reliability of the hardware and gathering other information that can make the firm launch more successful.”
The RFID is a small self-powered device activated by a scanner each time a tagged truck enters the system’s coverage area. It then keeps track of the vehicle while the letter is inside the terminal. Each tag is permanently assigned to a truck by its unique ID tied to the truck plate number.
Through RFID, the MICT will be able to tell how many trucks or where traffic bottlenecks are inside the terminal at any given time.
In an earlier interview with PortCalls, Gonzalez said the P70 million to P80 million project would tag 7,000 trucks that use the terminal at a cost of P3,400 per truck or P200 million just for tagging.
“So far, the only feedback is on the physical durability of the tags. We will likely explore a more robust tag for future deployments given the environment some of them work in,” Gonzalez said.
The Confederation of Truckers Association of the Philippines (CTAP) welcomed the use of RFID at the terminal.
“We are agreeable to have our trucks installed with RFID for a more efficient turnaround of our trucks,” CTAP president Ruperto Bayocot told PortCalls in a text message.
Gonzalez said there are plans to expand the project to other ICTSI terminals but clarified there are “no firm plans until the MICT system is fully successful”.
Gonzalez also said the project will not translate to higher cost.
“In fact, we want it to help truckers gain added turnaround and thus lessen their costs and improve their revenue-generating potential,” he added.
The entire MICP complex is covered by the RFID system from Del Pan to the Philippine Ports Authority north gate down to access roads and inside the terminal.–– Text and photo by Roumina M. Pablo