Following a container through this facility gives a good idea of how this facility functions and its advantages:
1. Nearly 95% of all containers arriving from the Ports are billed via Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), in advance of the scheduled train departures. Information from the billing (container number, destination, size, and weight) is automatically downloaded into the Optimization Alternative Intermodal Strategic Scheduler (OASIS) system. The OASIS system allows the ICTF to track a customer's shipments by unit numbers and by volume according to the destination and/or train ID. OASIS enables ICTF to forecast using EDI transmitted shipper data.
2. When the container arrives at the ICTF the driver first goes directly to the inspection lanes where he provides basic information to the gate inspector for input into a handheld computer. This information includes:
A. Container number
B. Chassis number
C. Drayage company
D. Driver's name
E. Driver's license number
F. Tractor license number
All of the information given, other than container and chassis number, is used to enforce compliance with parking in the assigned space. Not all of the required information listed.
3. After successful inspection of the equipment, and once the computer data entries are completed, a receipt is issued to the driver indicating the designated parking space within the facility.
4. If all, or a major portion of, the traffic has arrived at the ICTF for a particular train, the "loadout clerk" assigns the containers to a rail car. The computer sorts the containers by train and destination, then by size and weight.
5. The Ramp Manager then assigns the yard hostlers (trucks responsible for efficient movement of tractor trailers within a terminal/yard) via the OASIS system a portion of the train list to move the parking space to trackside. The Ramp Manager has the ability to monitor the hostler's performance through the computer.
6. The crane operators will load the double-stack cars according to the "loadout clerks" lists.