Operations at the Port of Embarkation (POE)
4-1. There are two types of ports of embarkation (POE): sea and aerial. Both types of POE must have communications and be able to provide In-transit Visibility (ITV) of unit equipment during this phase of movement. This capability must extend to providing advance arrival information to the Port of Debarkation (POD).
4-2. Battalions and companies deploy unit personnel, supplies, and equipment by sea through a port that is commanded or contracted by the Military Traffic Management Command (MTMC). Before being loaded on vessels, unit personnel, supplies, and equipment are held in the port staging area to prepare for shipment. Before moving to the port staging area, the unit, its supplies and equipment may be assembled in a marshaling area. There is a distinction between the two areas, although they serve much the same purpose. In a marshaling area, the owning command retains responsibility and accountability for the shipment. Once in the staging area, the port commander assumes custody of equipment and supplies. Both marshaling and staging areas are discussed in the paragraphs following.
4-3. When port call instructions are received from MTMC Operations Center, units are notified when and where to move their personnel, supplies, and equipment. This destination may be a port marshaling area or a port staging area. Support installations (SI), area support groups (ASG), or other organizations may be tasked to operate the marshaling area.
4-4. When deemed necessary, support installations, area support groups, or other organizations are tasked to establish a marshaling area near the port staging area. The primary purpose of a marshaling area is to provide a location to receive unit personnel, equipment and supplies, and configure them for overseas movement by sea, prior to entering the staging area. Accountability for personnel, equipment, and supplies remains with the deploying unit in the marshaling area. The following activities take place in the marshaling area:
- The flow of deploying personnel is managed as they arrive and depart the marshaling areas and staging areas, accounting for unit equipment, basic load containers, and pre-configured Equipment Deployment Storage Systems (EDSS) containers using Automatic Identification Technology (AIT) devices. AIT tags and Military Shipping Labels (MSLs), are created using Transportation Coordinator's Automated Information for Movement System II (TC-AIMS II). AIT data is sent to the ITV regional server using TC-AIMS II, and ultimately is dispatched from ITV to Global Transportation Network (GTN).
- Unit personnel, supplies, and equipment, and other cargo are moved from the marshaling area when it is called forward to the staging area. Coordination with MTMC headquarters (or one of its deployment teams) is established to ensure a smooth transition to the staging area.
- Unit equipment and supplies are checked to ensure they are properly labeled and tagged and accompanied by proper documentation.
- Cargo lashings and height limitations are checked to ensure that the loads are within parameters for shipment. Secondary loads (unit supplies and equipment on vehicles) are checked to ensure they are properly blocked, braced, and secured.
- Preventive maintenance checks and services (PMCS) are conducted and any required organizational or direct support maintenance accomplished, and fuel levels in vehicles and equipment being shipped adjusted to proper levels. AIT tags are checked to make sure they are working.
- Hazardous cargo is checked to ensure it is segregated, properly classified, described, packaged, marked, labeled, and in proper condition for transportation IAW Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) 49 and other prescribed regulations or directives.
Figure 4-1. Movement by Sea (Marshaling Area)
- Manage the flow of deploying unit personnel as they arrive and depart the marshaling area. Ensure the proper documentation is with all supplies and equipment.
- Account for unit equipment and basic load containers as they enter and leave the marshaling area. Ensure unit equipment is properly labeled and tagged. When equipment or cargo is called forward, move it from the marshaling area to the staging area.
- Check to ensure secondary loads are properly blocked, braced, and secured and check cargo lashings and height limitations of equipment.
- Check to ensure hazardous cargo is properly marked, labeled, and packaged IAW CFR 49 and applicable regulations or directives.
- Perform PMCS on vehicles and unit equipment. Adjust fuel to proper levels in vehicles and equipment being shipped. Inspect and ensure all AIT tags are working. Using TC-AIMS II, re-do AIT tags when necessary.
- Ensure equipment and cargo without AIT tags have MSLs and create them when required.
4-6. The MTMC port commander has responsibility for the staging area. The staging area is the final location where unit personnel, supplies, and equipment are assembled prior to boarding the vessel. As the vessel readies for loading, the port commander calls forward supplies and equipment from the marshaling area to the staging area based on a call forward plan. The port commander assumes custody and accountability of the equipment and supplies in the staging area. Units usually arrange equipment and supplies in the staging area in the order that it is to move onto the ship.
4-7. Unit movement teams (UMT) transportation terminal brigades (TTBs), port support activities (PSAs), cargo transfer companies, freight consolidation and distribution teams (FCDT), and cargo documentation teams may be assigned to operate staging areas under MTMC control. (The MTMC UMT is an ad hoc organization that opens and temporarily operates a SPOE until the transportation terminal brigade (TTB) is operational. When alerted, a UMT is formed and immediately deploys to the SPOE to coordinate contracts, set up operations, and begin to receive cargo. The team also plans for traffic flow, obtains waivers and clearances, establishes liaison with the deploying unit, develop pre-stow plans, and provides reports. Liaison with the deploying unit is especially critical to establish the flow into the port based on the priority of load. The team's composition is determined by the team chief based on mission requirements. Command authority remains with the team until the TTB commander arrives and assumes command.) (See FM 3-35.4.)
4-8. MTMC is the worldwide common user ocean terminal port operator and is responsible for directing and coordinating the deployment of units through SPOEs according to Time Phased Force Deployment Data (TPFDD). MTMC directs and coordinates this deployment of units through its SPOEs by dispatching port call messages to the affected units. Port call messages provide an earliest and latest unit arrival date at the port complex to facilitate vessel loading (and sailing) to meet TPFDD requirements. These port call messages provide schedules for units to arrive at the port complex in sufficient time for the unit to process through the marshaling area (if there is one) and the staging area on a schedule that permits loading to meet vessel sailing schedules.
4-9. When the unit arrives in the staging area, a MTMC element is there to meet the following responsibilities, many of which are double-checks of actions taken in the marshaling area:
- Operates the staging area to receive, stage, provide safety briefings, and supervise embarkation of unit personnel, supplies, and equipment in the port onto vessels.
- Establishes and directs port communications, safety policies, and physical security procedures for equipment. Within this general category of safety and security; plans and implements procedures for the handling and storage of HAZMAT, controlled, sensitive, and pilferable items. Ensures HAZMAT items are properly marked, labeled, and documented as HAZMAT, verbiage above and staged and stowed IAW CFR 49.
- Ensures secondary loads are properly blocked, braced, and secured and assures cargo lashings and height limitations of equipment are within parameters. Corrects deficiencies not resolved in the marshaling area.
- Regulates military traffic within the port.
- Develops stow plans, supervises vessel loading, inspects vessel readiness, and provides documentation.
- Controls all equipment departing the staging area for vessel loading. Scans or interrogates all unit equipment and sustainment cargo as it arrives and leaves the staging area. As part of this tracking, makes a final check of AIT tags to ensure they are readable and properly affixed. Repairs or replaces any AIT tags or MSLs that are damaged, inaccurate, or missing.
- Uses AIT to capture the movement of unit equipment through the port complex to the vessel final stowage location and sends the data to the GTN. (Scan MSLs and AIT tags and send the data to WPS and then to GTN.)
- Ensures equipment and supplies are properly documented.
- Ensures fuel is adjusted to the proper level in vehicles and other equipment being shipped.
- Provides vehicle operators for all types of equipment to move vehicles in the staging area and assists in loading and unloading the vessels.
- Provides vehicle recovery in the staging area during loading and unloading of vessels.
Figure 4-2. Notional SPOE
4-10. In organizing for reception of personnel, equipment, and supplies at its SPOEs, MTMC may be assigned any of the following to assist in the deployment mission: UMT, a TTB, a PSA, cargo transfer companies, FCDTs, and cargo documentation teams.
4-11. TTBs are Reserve Component (RC) units that allow the MTMC to expand the number and capability of seaports. TTBs conduct ocean terminal operations at established ports where existing manpower, equipment, and infrastructure are available. They may be deployed Outside Continental United States (OCONUS) to expand the number and capability of ports for sustainment or redeployment purposes.
4-12. A typical TTB operates two or three berths simultaneously (four or five berths for limited surge periods), provides traffic management, and supervises contracts. It employs Army information systems such as Integrated Computerized Deployment System (ICODES) and Worldwide Port System (WPS), and uses automated identification technology (AIT) to maintain in-transit visibility. (See new FM 3-35.4.)
4-13. The PSA is a temporary military augmentation organization (or contracted organization) comprised of personnel with specific skills that aid the port commander in receiving, processing, and clearing cargo at the SPOE. It is under the operational control of the port commander. CONUS installations are tasked by FORSCOM to provide PSAs to specific ports. This includes the PSA and associated logistic support for deploying units. The PSA establishes the necessary communications to ensure the proper flow of cargo. It provides daily operational reports of cargo received, maintenance performed, and operational problems to the port commander. In an OCONUS area of operation (AO), the ASG provides the PSA and associated logistic support for deploying units. (See FM 3-35.4.)
4-14. A CTC is organized with four cargo transfer platoons and a documentation section. The four platoons have material handling equipment (MHE) to support transshipping cargo, containers, and unit equipment to ships and aircraft. Each platoon can operate independently at a remote site to support transshipment operations. The company assists in loading ships and operating a staging area. The small CTC Documentation Section, equipped with TC-AIMS II, cannot support each of the four Platoons simultaneously when they operate at remote terminals. When operating remote terminals, the CTC is augmented with one or more cargo documentation teams. (See FM 55-1; new FM 4-01.)
Figure 4-3. Notional Aerial Port of Embarkation.
4-19. The aerial port complex is under the control of a Tanker Airlift Control Element (TALCE). The TALCE is a deployed Air Mobility Command organization established at fixed, en route, and deployed locations where AMC operational support is non-existent or insufficient. A TALCE is composed of mission support elements from various units and deploys in support of contingency/emergency relief operations on both a planned and "no-notice" basis. The TALCE provides continuing on-site management of Air Mobility Command airfield operations including command and control, communications, aerial port services, maintenance, security, weather, and intelligence -- those critical elements needed to ensure a safe and efficient air base for airlift operations.
4-20. The four distinct port complex areas are:
- The Marshaling Area activities are the responsibility of the deploying commander. . It is the area where units start, continue, or complete preparation for loading. (The deploying unit should not be required to perform support functions, thus permitting its concentration on preparation for the deployment.) the marshaling area is normally located at or in the vicinity of the airfield, but may be located in any location to ease movement and control. in any case, the marshaling area activities should take place as close as possible to the departure airfield. Its location should not cause unnecessary congestion to airfield operations or undue hardship to the deploying unit.
- The Alert Holding Area is the equipment, vehicle, and passenger control area, and is the responsibility of the A/DACG. It is normally located in the vicinity of the departure airfield. It is used to assemble, inspect, hold, and service aircraft loads. Control of the load is transferred from the individual unit to the A/DACG at this point.
- The Call Forward Area is that portion of the departure airfield where the joint inspection is conducted. (See Figure 4-3.) It is the dual responsibilityof the A/DACG and the TALCE. A final briefing is provided to deploying troops and all manifests are reviewed for accuracy. The deploying unit corrects all discrepancies found by the A/DACG and TALCE joint inspection. Control of the load moves from the A/DACG to the TALCE when the load moves from the call forward area to the loading ramp.
- The Loading Ramp Area is that portion of the departure airfield beyond which aircraft operations are conducted. It is the responsibility of the TALCE who receives sole control of the load from the A/DACG when the load or "chalk" moves from the call forward area to the loading ramp area. Additional briefings and inspections may be conducted in this area. Here the aircraft parking plan is executed and loads directed to the parked aircraft. Actual loading of the aircraft is accomplished in this area under the supervision of loadmasters or load team chiefs.
4-21. Each of these areas is discussed in the paragraphs that follow.
- Manage the flow of deploying personnel and account for unit equipment, basic load containers, and pre-configured deployment pallets as they arrive and depart the marshaling area. When personnel, equipment, or supplies are called forward, move them from the marshaling area to the alert holding area.
- Coordinate with the A/DACG on when to move personnel, equipment, and cargo to the alert holding area.
- Prepare personnel and cargo manifest. Ensure unit aircraft load arrives and that control of it passes at the alert holding area at the time specified by the A/DACG.
- Ensure the appointed chalk commanders, sometimes called "aircraft commanders" (don't confuse this with the pilot-in-command) are briefed on their responsibilities. (A "chalk" is composed of designated troops, equipment, supplies, and other cargo that constitute a complete aircraft load.
- Arrange with the TALCE for Air Force technical assistance.
- Perform PMCS steam cleaning of vehicles and unit equipment. Adjust fuel to proper levels in vehicles and equipment being shipped. Ensure all AIT tags are working. Create AIT tags when necessary.
- Ensure equipment and cargo without AIT tags have MSLs and create them when required.
- Check to ensure secondary loads are properly blocked, braced, and secured and check cargo lashings and height limitations of equipment and center of balance (CB) is properly marked.
- Check to ensure hazardous cargo is properly marked, labeled, and loaded IAW CFR 49 verbiage above.
4-23. The alert holding area is the equipment, vehicle, and passenger control area. It is normally located in the vicinity of the departure airfield. It is used to assemble, inspect, hold, and service aircraft loads. Control of the load is transferred from the individual unit to the A/DACG at this point. The following activities take place in the alert holding area:
- Establish communications with the units in the marshaling areas and the TALCE in the call forward area.
- Receive passenger and/or cargo manifests, load plans and required documentation from the deploying unit and inspect for accuracy and completeness.
- Conduct a pre-inspection of the cargo and equipment to be loaded on the aircraft and have the unit correct any load discrepancies identified
- Receive, inventory, and control aircraft loads as they arrive at the alert holding area and leave for the call forward area.
- Inspect aircraft loads to ensure that they are complete and correctly prepared. Ensure deploying unit has required shoring, floor protection materials, and 463L dunnage on hand.
- Verify accuracy of weight and CB markings.
- Ensure that the unit provides emergency maintenance; petroleum, oil, and lubrication (POL); and related services, as needed, to accomplish the outloading mission.
- Move, direct , and guide aircraft loads to the call forward area.
- Ensure that loads are sent to the call forward area at the time agreed upon by the deploying unit and TALCE.
4-24. The call forward area is that portion of the departure airfield where the A/DACG and TALCE conduct joint inspections of aircraft loads. A final briefing is provided to deploying troops by the TALCE. The A/DACG and TALCE review all load plans and manifests for accuracy. The deploying unit corrects all discrepancies found by the joint inspection in the call forward area.
4-25. In the call forward area, the A/DACG is responsible to:
- Assist the TALCE in the joint inspection of aircraft loads and manifests and ensure that discrepancies found during the joint inspection are corrected.
- Move equipment forward to the loading ramp area and segregate by load after they pass inspection.
- Reassemble aircraft loads in the event of an aircraft abort (or air cargo load discrepancy) and with the assistance of the TALCE, prepare required manifest changes.
- Maintain statistical data to account for the current status of all unit personnel and equipment scheduled for air movement.
- Ensure the deploying unit adheres to the established movement timetable.
- Provide and equip loading team personnel and provide support equipment.
- Escort aircraft loads to the ready line.
- Ensure that all personnel are briefed by the TALCE.
- Retain a final corrected copy of each passenger and cargo manifest, inspection record, and load plan.
- Provide fueling and defueling capability and emergency maintenance for equipment to be transported.
- Provide passenger-holding areas.
4-26. In the call forward area, the TALCE is responsible to:
- Coordinate with the A/DACG on all changes required to the aircraft configuration.
- Conduct the joint inspection with the A/DACG.
- Assist the A/DACG in reassembling aircraft loads in the event an aircraft aborts or discrepancies are discovered in the planned air cargo load.
- Provide passenger briefing guide for the passengers' representative to brief the troops for on/off load procedures. Brief vehicle drivers and passengers on flight line safety, driving procedures, smoking rules, and special precautions.
- Provide a team chief for each loading team.
- Provide passenger escort to the aircraft.
- Notify the A/DACG when loads are to be dispatched to the loading ramp area ready line.
- Move cargo to the ramp area ready line.
- Accept loads at the ready line and load aboard the aircraft.
4-27. The loading ramp area, including ready line, is controlled by the TALCE. Additional briefings and instructions may be conducted in this area. Under supervision of the aircraft loadmaster or load team chief, the supported service loads and restrains cargo aboard the aircraft.
4-28. The chalk commander is responsible for:
- Following directions of load team chief or passenger escort.
- Monitoring and controlling aircraft passengers.
- Retaining one copy of the final passenger/cargo manifest.
- Providing assistance in loading and securing the aircraft load as requested by the loadmaster or load team chief.
- Ensuring that vehicle drivers and equipment operators follow the instructions of the load team chief or loadmaster while loading equipment on the aircraft.
4-29. The A/DACG is responsible for:
- Transferring control of the aircraft load to the TALCE at the ready line and monitoring the loading.
- Providing load teams to assist in loading and securing the aircraft load as required by the loadmaster or load team chief.
- Maintaining coordination with the deploying unit representative and TALCE.
- Obtaining individual aircraft load completion time from TALCE.
4-30. The TALCE is responsible for:
- Accepting planeloads from the A/DACG at the ready line.
- Ensuring that all drivers have been briefed on flight line safety.
- Ensuring that each aircraft load is positioned at the proper aircraft at the specified time.
- Maintaining liaison with the aircraft crew and the A/DACG.
- Coordinating with the aircraft primary loadmaster and ensuring that loads are placed aboard the aircraft in time to meet the scheduled departure time.
- Providing (if required) and operating MHE and special loading equipment according to DTR 4500.9R and agreements during joint planning.
- Maintaining communications with the A/DACG and deploying units.
- Providing aircraft loadmaster with required copies of the passenger/cargo manifests and air load plans.
- Briefing aircrews, as required.
4-31. The load team chief is responsible for:
- Receiving loads at the ready line.
- Directing and supervising the loading teams and vehicle drivers.
- Coordinating with the aircraft primary loadmaster, directing all loading operations, and ensuring all equipment and supplies are properly restrained in the aircraft.
- Coordinating with the TALCE ready line coordinator for any special assistance or equipment needed.
- Collecting required copies of the passenger/cargo manifest and making sure that they are given to the aircraft primary loadmaster.
- Passing load completion time to the TALCE.
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