The Georgia Ports Authority (GPA), Savannah, Ga., instituted a new tracking system designed to more quickly process breakbulk cargo and provide real-time freight tracking.

“The new system means faster service and better communication with our breakbulk customers,” says Curtis Foltz, executive director. “It is another facet of our ongoing effort to improve GPA operations and reduce the transit times of cargo flowing across our docks.”

The General Cargo System software shows cargo headed to the Port of Savannah and its current stage in transit. This enables GPA to prepare for and expedite handling of shipments down to the item level. This technology also enables GPA to detect and order deadline cargo as it becomes available at a Savannah rail yard. 

To create the new General Cargo System, GPA brought together a diverse team of operational, technical and financial personnel. The system streamlines business, improves communications and brings technology to the warehouse floor, resulting in a more flexible and efficient breakbulk operation.

The system includes automated communications for advanced shipping notices, railcar availability and stuffing orders, as well as improved on-terminal inventory control.

“Our central aim was to collect shipping data prior to cargo arrival,” says Bill Sutton, director of information technology. “General Cargo System strengthens the efficiency of field operations by recording in real time cargo reception, inventory and stuffing orders. The result has been dramatic time savings. Railcar ordering that previously took two hours of manual processing now takes only 15 minutes to complete.”

The move also greatly reduced manual data entry and data lag, while providing information access for management, administrative and field personnel. The new tracking system also aids in planning through early notification of incoming trucks and railcars, as well as the cargo each is carrying.