Military mandates single e-shipping system

An Army command that moves 16 million shipments per year at a cost of $1

billion in commercial transportation services is mandating the use of an

electronic payment and shipment tracking system called PowerTrack.

As of Nov. 30, the U.S. Army Military Traffic Management Command will

require all commercial shipping companies moving Defense Department personnel

and equipment to use PowerTrack.

The MTMC, based in Alexandria, Va., is part of the joint U.S. Transportation

Command and supports surface transportation missions, including shipping

the personal belongings of more than 1.3 million military personnel and

deploying troops and equipment to world hot spots.

MTMC announced its intentions in the Aug. 4 Federal Register.

"We want to mandate it because we want to move to a standard electronic

process with industry [and] reduce infrastructure and cost. We've been working

toward this for almost three years and need to move from a government process

to a commercial process," said Tom Hicks, management reform representative

at MTMC.

PowerTrack usage will be required by the end of November for "air, barge

pipeline, rail and sealift carries" and by the end of the year for all "guaranteed

traffic carriers," according to the announcement. More than 50 percent of

MTMC's commercial shippers already use the system.

PowerTrack was developed by US Bank Inc., and is described on the company

Web site as a "single-source information center [that] provides instant

access to shipment data for both carriers and shippers; eliminates the need

for reconciling freight bills and invoices; guarantees fast, accurate payments;

and provides exceptional, real-time and analytical reporting tools for better

logistics management decisions."

PowerTrack also is being adapted for expanded use, said Everett Doolittle,

vice president of business development for US Bank. "We'll have a number

of pilot programs where it will be used to pay not just for the transportation

services, but for the goods onboard as well."

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