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MTMC's direct booking initiative expands in scope.

The direct booking of ocean carrier shipments via the Web is fast becoming more and more popular among MTMC customers.

The General Service Administration is about to rapidly boost the number of its direct booking ocean shipments.

At a Distribution Analysis Center work session May 13, General Service Administration officials said they will expand direct booking to two more of their largest centers. Direct booking will begin from the Burlington Township, N.J., and the Stockton, Calif., distribution centers this summer, said Bill Darter, Traffic Manager of the GSA's Federal Supply Service Office of Supply, Arlington, Va.

"We're looking at 50 to 80 containers a week from the two centers," said Darter. "These containers will be booked to the next ship."

Booking containers on the first available ship is one of the hallmarks of the Strategic Distribution Management Initiative, which seeks to speed military freight shipments.

MTMC plays a big role in the surface freight movements within the joint U.S. Transportation Command and Defense Logistics Agency initiative. Before the initiative started, a large quantity of MTMC shipments missed one, and sometimes two, ship sailings.

Direct booking has its own speed. What formerly took 30 minutes now takes five on the Web.

General Service Administration began its direct booking participation Oct. 1 with its mid-Atlantic region located in

MTMC began a direct booking test March 1, 2001, with pilot transactions between CSX Lines and the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, a component of the Defense Logistics Agency.

Since then, additional carriers and customers have been added. MTMC customers performing direct booking of their ocean shipments include: the Defense Depot San Joaquin, the Navy Exchange Service and the Army and Air Force Exchange Service.

In fiscal year 2001, there were 1,100 direct booking transactions, totaling $4 million, which involved four carriers and six shippers.

"This brings the General Service Administration into the same process as defense users and shippers," said Thomas Hicks, MTMC's project director.

"This is one of many efforts MTMC is taking to get out of the middle between customers and carriers."

"The meeting showed that there was a strong consensus on the proposal between MTMC and its customers," said Curtis Moore, a Distribution Analysis Center action officer.

MTMC's immediate goal is to have 80 percent of ocean shipments booked directly via the Web, said Moore.

"The Integrated Booking System would still be available for 20 percent of the small shippers to use," said Moore.

"Direct booking gives customers control over bookings. They can book, change and cancel orders quickly."
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Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2002
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