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Section I. Overview

1-1. INTRODUCTION. This chapter provides an overview of the following:

  • Types of terminal operations.
  • Marine terminal operations within CONUS.
  • Terminal organizations in a TOPNS.
  • Responsibilities of MSC.
  • The relationship between MSC, transportation terminal service units, and the ship's officers.

It also discusses the Congressionally mandated MRS of 1992, the DOD recommended development of an integrated mobility plan that gives the Army a strategically effective deployment capability based on the current reduction-in-force and the revised national security strategy. The study also identifies a shortfall of three million square feet of surge sealift capability and a shortfall of two million square feet of prepositioned sealift capability to carry Army combat, combat support, and combat service support equipment. The new integrated mobility plan calls for the expansion of the Army Afloat Prepositioning Program and is being partially met through the introduction of the T-AKR 295 and 296 Class Strategic Sealift Ships.

1-2. TYPES OF TERMINAL OPERATIONS. The primary categories for Army terminal operations are ocean water terminal operations and inland terminal operations.

    a. Ocean Water Terminals. Ocean water terminals are classified as fixed-port facilities, unimproved port facilities, or bare beach port facilities. These facilities are subclassified as general cargo terminal, container terminal, RO/RO terminal, and combination terminal. Normally, general cargo terminal operations apply to all ocean water terminals. Container, RO/RO, and combination terminal usually refer to a fixed-port facility. LOTS operations no longer refer to only bare beach operations. The expanded definition of LOTS applies to any operation where oceangoing cargo vessels discharge to lighterage.

      (1) Fixed port facilities. Fixed port terminals are an improved network of cargo handling facilities specifically designed for transfer of oceangoing freight, vessel discharge operations, and port clearance. At these facilities, deep-draft oceangoing vessels come alongside a pier, ship or quay and discharge cargo directly onto the apron. Most cargo moves into open or covered in-transit storage to await terminal clearance. Discharge selected cargo direct to land transport. Fixed port facilities also have state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, and are organized to support cargo discharge and port clearance operations.

      (2) Unimproved port facilities. Unimproved port facilities are not designed for cargo discharge. They do not have the facilities, equipment, and infrastructure characteristic of fixed-port facilities. Unimproved port facilities have insufficient water depth and pier length to accommodate oceangoing cargo vessels. Therefore, use of shallow-draft lighterage is necessary in discharging oceangoing vessels that are anchored in the stream. This fact qualifies the operation as a LOTS operation. In most instances, US Army cargo transfer units use their own TOE equipment to operate unimproved port facilities.

      (3) Bare beach facilities. Bare beach facilities best fit the perceived definition of a LOTS operation. In a bare beach facility, Army lighterage is discharged across the beach. There are no facilities, equipment, or infrastructure available equal to cargo discharge or port clearance operations. Beach terminals require specifically selected sites where delivery of cargo by lighterage to or across the beach and into marshaling yards or onto waiting clearance transportation. There is usage of landing crafts, amphibians, and terminal units in a beach operation under the command and control of a terminal battalion.

NOTE: Fixed ports, unimproved ports, and bare beach sites can handle general cargo. They can be identified as general cargo fixed ports, general cargo unimproved ports, or general cargo bare beach sites.

      (4) Container terminals. Container terminals are specialized facilities designed for uninterrupted, high-volume flow of containers between ship and inland transportation modes, and vice versa. Specialized, largely non-self-sustaining vessels that are unloaded by high-productivity industrial equipment service these terminals. These terminals may have facilities for consolidation of break-bulk cargo into containers. An efficient container terminal equipped with gantry cranes can usually discharge and backload a non-self-sustaining containership in 24 to 48 hours.

      (5) RO/RO terminals. RO/RO terminals are designed for handling rolling stock. These terminals have a deep water berth, a centralized management cluster, terminal in- and out-processing facilities, and a massive, open unrestricted parking area. The key element of these terminals is that all cargo remains on wheels throughout the terminal transit cycle. Place nontrailerable cargo, such as containers arriving at the port on railcars, on specially designed low-silhouette cargo trailers for the ocean transit. Vessel turnaround times vary according to the size of the vessel and the quantity of cargo on board. Normal completion of discharge and backloading is 18 to 36 hours. The productivity of a RO/RO terminal depends on the cargo rolling off the ship, through the terminal and related processing, and on to final destination.

NOTE: During a fixed-port operation, discharge the vessel directly to land rather than to lighterage. A RO/RO is a fixed-port terminal.

    b. Inland Terminals. Inland terminals provide cargo transfer facilities at interchange points between air, rail, motor, and water transportation nets. They also provide these facilities with connecting links between these modes when terrain and operational requirements cause a change in carrier.

1-3. TERMINAL ORGANIZATIONS IN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES. The Army is the single-service manager for surface transportation and for the operation of common-user ocean terminals for DOD-sponsored cargoes within CONUS.

    a. The MTMC is the Army's organization for performing these functions within CONUS. The MTMC commands and operates military common-war ocean terminals, or obtains the use of commercial ocean terminal facilities when required to satisfy DOD export requirements.

    b. MTMC contracts as a single port manager berthing and docking services provided for vessels, ensures cargo is loaded at the specified time, prepares the stowage plan, and handles the cargo. MTMC will also prepare the hold for receiving cargo; stow, lash, and shore cargo as required; and clean the holds of government-owned or government-operated vessels after the cargo is discharged.

    c. Military ocean terminals provide interchange of DOD-general cargo between land and water routes. Special-purpose ports provide for the shipment or receipt of ammunition and explosives. Those ports that do not have military ocean terminal facilities direct and control the operation of common-user facilities. These ports also direct and control outport operations managed by the MTMC activity providing terminal services through a commercial contractor rather than through a military operator. These services also involve operating detachments as subactivities in port complexes where there is insufficient military traffic to warrant an outport or military ocean terminal organization. FM 55-60 contains details on CONUS military ocean terminal operations.

1-4. TERMINAL ORGANIZATIONS IN A THEATER OF OPERATIONS. In a theater of operations, Army terminal operations will include loading, unloading, and handling in-transit cargo and personnel between any of the various modes of transportation. Establishment of terminals is for cargo to carry at beginning, destination, and in-transit points.

    a. Theater Support Command Materiel Management Center. The TSC MMC provides movement requirements to the MCA for movement of material. Enhanced automation capabilities improve coordination of intratheater movement services and advanced reporting of incoming cargo shipments.

    b. Transportation Composite Group. The transportation composite group is normally the senior terminal activity in the theater of operations. Figure 1-1 shows a theater terminal organization. The Battalion that is operating primarily commands deep water terminals, Army air terminals, or similar activities that are conducted with adjacent or related water terminal activities. The composite group is a planning and control organization and does not enter into day-to-day operations.

Figure 1-1. Theater terminal organization

    c. Terminal Battalion. The terminal battalion commands, controls, plans, and supervises the attached operating units in day-to-day operations. The commander of a terminal battalion has a specific operational area and mission. Cargo transfer units, watercraft composite units, amphibian and land transport units, and various other units and equipment are attached to the terminal battalion. FM 55-60 contains detailed information on the organization and operation of transportation terminal battalions and terminal service and terminal transfer companies.

    d. Transportation Cargo Transfer Company. The capabilities of the transportation cargo transfer company are as follows:

      (1) At Level 1, this unit can operate up to four rail, truck or air terminals on a 24-hour per day basis. The size of the terminal and/or scope of the operation may mean that more than one platoon is required to operate a given terminal. Daily capability is as follows:

        (a) In rail or truck terminal operations transship 820 STONs of break-bulk cargo or 200 containers per terminal. For a four terminal transship a total of .3,280 STONs of break-bulk cargo or 800 containers (or a combination thereof).

        (b) In air terminal operations transship 550 STONs of non-containerized cargo or 160 twenty-foot container equivalents per terminal. For a four terminal transship total of 2,200 STONs of non-containerized cargo or 640 twenty-foot container equivalents (or a combination thereof).

        (c) In a fixed port accomplish one, but not all.

        • Given a container ship and pierside cranes, discharge or load 500 containers per day or combination thereof.
        • When augmented by the port operations cargo detachment (TOE 55560LF00), discharge or load 2,500 STONs of break-bulk cargo. In simultaneous operations, move 1,250 STONs in each direction.
        • With a RO/RO ship, discharge up to 1,000 vehicles or load up to 750 vehicles.

        (d) In LOTS operation, augmented by the port operations cargo detachment, accomplish one but not all.

        • Discharge or load 300 containers. In simultaneous perations move 150 containers in each direction.
        • Discharge or load 1,500 STONs of break-bulk cargo. In simultaneous operation move 750 STONs in each direction.
        • Discharge or load 350 vehicles from/to a RO/RO ship.

        (e) At inland terminals can perpetuate cargo documentation and redocument diverted or reconsigned cargo.

        (f) During container operations can stuff and unstuff containers. However, this capability degrades other capabilities.

      (2) The columns under Levels 2 and 3 adapt this table for reduced operational capabilities in decrements of 10 percent, from approximately 90 percent for Level 2 to approximately 80 percent for Level 3.

      (3) This unit is not adaptable to Type B organization.

      (4) The columns designated by Levels 1 through 3 are designed to relate to categories established in AR 220-1, Unit Status Reporting.

      (5) Individuals of this organization can assist in the coordinated defense of the unit's area of installation.

      (6) This unit performs unit maintenance on organic equipment except communications security equipment.

    e. Port Operation Cargo Detachment. The transportation port operations cargo detachment augments the Cargo Transfer Company. It is employed to discharge equipment and supplies at a water port. The immediate requirement is to discharge supplies prepositioned in barges. Then it assists in the discharge of Corps.

Follow-on units or contract support/HNS under MTMC, assume cargo handling operations at the SPODs during the sustainment phase and theater development. The cargo transfer companies become available to corps and division units requiring additional CHE or MHE to meet surge requirements. The detachment is task-organized to continue work with MTMC or another support activity, during the sustainment phase.

1-5. RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE MILITARY SEALIFT COMMAND. The MSC is the single agency assigned to manage worldwide ocean transportation for DOD cargo to support US forces during peacetime and contingencies. MSC is composed of three separate forces: the Strategic Sealift Force, the Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force, and the Special Mission Support Force. It obtains its shipping capabilities in three main ways:

  • Using MSC-owned and operated ships.
  • Chartering vessels from commercial steamship companies.
  • Activating ships from the RRF.

Accomplish activating RRF ships by commercial operations through GAA contracts with the MARAD. Once these ships attain operational status, MSC takes full control and directs all subsequent sealift movements. MSC operates directly under CNO and is responsible for the operation, control, and administration of ocean transportation for all of DOD. It provides vessels to transport cargo and personnel as required by the Army, Air Force, and Navy (excluding those personnel and supplies transported by Navy fleet).

1-6. RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN TERMINAL UNITS AND MILITARY SEALIFT COMMAND SHIPS. Coordination between Army transportation supervisory cargo-handling personnel and MSC ship's officers is essential in any terminal operation.

    a. The chief mate is the ship's designated cargo officer who handles most of the problems during loading or discharging operations involving cargo handling, sling, and securing.

    b. The ship's master has the final word on any questions pertaining to the safe stowage of cargo aboard ship. Upon arrival, submit the ship's presto plans to the master for his approval. He ensures that the stowage will not adversely affect the cargo or the seaworthiness and safety of the ship.

    c. Representatives of the loading cargo-handling units and the ship's master (or his designated officer) will jointly inspect the cargo holds to ensure they are suitable to receive cargo. They also inspect the ship's cargo gear to ensure that it is in safe condition and working order. Inspectors note and correct any (if required) deficiencies or damages to ship's cargo-handling gear prior to starting operations.

    d. The loading and/or discharging cargo-handling units handle, stow, and secure all cargo according to the approved stowage plan and safe cargo-handling practices. The MSC assumes responsibility for DOD cargo after it is properly stowed aboard the vessel and accepted by the vessel master. MSCs responsibility for the cargo terminates once the cargo accepts and discharges at the POD. The commander of the terminal making the last discharge from the ship must ensure removal of all military cargo.

    e. Command personnel ensure that the terminal operations crew is able to solve problems concerning handling, stowing, shipping, and discharging military cargo. Appendix A contains conversion factors that all terminal operations personnel must know.

1-7. RESPONSIBILITY FOR CLEANING CARGO SPACES. Procedures for cleaning cargo spaces are as follows:

    a. Upon completion of loading or off-loading, the shipper providing the cargo-handling service must clean the cargo spaces. Clean cargo spaces to the satisfaction of local MSC authorities and the master is necessary. Cleaning usually involves sweeping holds clean and removing refuse, except where carried cargo requires more treatment that is thorough. Do cleaning concurrently with loading or off-loading. When circumstances require ship to sail without cleaning, a representative of MSC or the shipper service must furnish the master with a letter stating the reason the ship is not clean prior to departure.

    b. When appropriate, MSC representatives will send messages to other MSC representatives at the port to which the ship is being dispatched. These messages advise them of the unclean condition, the reason for the condition, and the shipper service responsible for cleaning. Representatives of the shipper service at the last port, and at the next port to which the ship is being dispatched, will also receive the message.

    c. The MSC determines if cleaning is to be done by the responsible shipper service upon arrival or by the ship's complement en route. If en route cleaning is determined to be operationally necessary or more economical, the cognizant MSC representative advises the vessel master. If other factors permit, the ship's crew will clean the ship.

    d. When an unclean ship arrives, cognizant MSC representatives inspect the ship, advise the responsible shipper service of its condition, and request the cleaning and residing of the ship for immediate employment. MSC representatives may defer cleaning until the ship is placed on berth for loading if it is more economical.

    e. Should circumstances keep the responsible shipper service from cleaning the cargo spaces, MSC representatives will arrange for cleaning with the ship's master. Cleaning is at the expense of the shipper service. When the nature of the cargo to be loaded does not require cleaning as previously defined, MSC representatives may waive the cleaning requirement or specify to what extent cleaning shall be done.

Section II. Strategic Sealift Ships

1-8. MISSION OF THE STRATEGIC SEALIFT SHIPS. The T-AKR 295 and 296 Class ships make up a portion of the Strategic Sealift Force. The primary mission of these ships is to provide strategic sealift capability in support of the rapid deployment of heavy, mechanized combat units worldwide, including hazardous, explosive, vehicular, containerized, and general cargo. Secondary missions include:

  • Rapid resupply of large quantities of mechanized equipment, rations, spare or repair parts, and other cargo as follow-on logistical support to deployed forces.
  • Lift capability for follow-on unit equipment and supplies for all uniformed services.

1-9. ORGANIZATIONAL OVERVIEW. The USTRANSCOM and its components execute military transportation programs and policies. Two of those components, the MSC and the MTMC, play a major role in the management of the strategic sealift ships. Basic responsibilities of these two organizations and their deploying units are given below.

1-10. MILITARY SEALIFT COMMAND. MSC is composed of three separate forces: the Strategic Sealift Force, the Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force, and the Special Mission Support Force. The T-AKR 295 and 296 Class ships are part of the current fleet of over 70 Strategic Sealift Ships in the Strategic Sealift Force that carry military equipment, supplies, and petroleum to support US forces overseas.

Although the T-AKR 295 and 296 Class ships are owned and under the administrative control of the Commander, MSC, they are public vessels. Commercial ship contract operators operate, maintain, and repair the T-AKR 295 and 296 Class ships. The contract operators have responsibility for the following:

  • Providing qualified ship's officers and crew.
  • Providing operational and technical support ashore.
  • Providing the equipment, tools, provisions, and supplies to operate the ships.

The contract operators work closely with the MTMC Port Command representative, the TTB/TTU personnel, and the loading units in determining what and where cargo is to be loaded.

MSC, through the contract operators, is responsible for approving the stow plan and monitoring the loading and lashing of the ship. MSC will assume responsibility for DOD cargo after it is properly stowed and accepted by the ship's master. Likewise, MSCs responsibility terminates once the cargo has been discharged at the SPOD.

1-11. MILITARY TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT COMMAND. MTMC manages worldwide traffic, operates common-user ocean terminals, and offers transportation and transportation engineering advice for DOD. MTMC, like MSC, has a significant role in coordinating the movement of DOD cargo, equipment, supplies, and personnel. MTMC maintains responsibility for the following:

  • Ensures transportation readiness in meeting DODs needs for rapid response to national emergencies.
  • Monitors the movement of DOD cargo through civilian terminals.
  • Provides relocation assistance to DOD families and their personal property.
  • Assures the transportability of equipment and the deployability of Army units.

The primary responsibility of MTMC, with respect to the loading and off-loading of the T-AKR 295 and 296 Class, includes the operation of military common-user ocean terminals or the arrangement for the use of commercial ocean terminal facilities when required to satisfy DOD deployment requirements. The MTMC is also responsible for:

  • Ensuring that berthing and docking services are provided for shiploading operations.
  • Ensuring cargo is received and prepared for loading at the port.
  • Preparing the ship stowage plan.
  • Staging the cargo.
  • Arranging for commercial stevedore support

In general, commercial stevedores handle operations in the CONUS, while military personnel handle operations overseas.

The PSA provides the MTMC terminal commander with administrative, logistical, and support personnel to assist in the on loading and off-loading of military cargo aboard strategic sealift ships.

US Army Transportation TTB/TTUs are Army Reserve units that command and, when necessary, operate ocean terminals and augment peacetime water terminals under the command of MTMC. They are responsible for the cargo load planning and for the shiploading operations. During loading operations, the TTB/TTUs are the primary interface between the ship's crew, the deploying unit(s), and the PSA.

1-12. DEPLOYING UNITS. The deploying units, whose equipment is being loaded, have responsibility for the preparation, transportation, and security of the cargo from its starting location to its port of departure. The deploying units also have responsibility for the supercargo assignments onboard the departing ships and for assisting the ocean terminal commander during loading operations.

For cargo configurations containing a mechanized component, for example, M1A1, Abrams Tank, M2A1, Bradley Fighting Vehicle, a military RO/RO gang may be assigned. A military RO/RO gang, provided by the PSA, is tailored to the type of unit and equipment being loaded. At some civilian terminals, the stevedore services contract or the traditions of the port may dictate that civilian drivers be used. In this case, the PSA must be prepared to train the civilian stevedore drivers in the proper operation of the vehicles.

1-13. SUPERCARGO PERSONNEL. Supercargo personnel are US Army soldiers designated by a deploying unit to supervise, guard, and maintain unit cargo aboard the vessel during surge mode operations. The supercargo assignments also involve security of personal weapons and classified material.

1-14. CARGO MAINTENANCE CREW. While the ship is in the prepositioning mode, a US Army-contracted, civilian cargo maintenance crew will be assigned to the ship. This crew is responsible for the security, maintenance, and repair of cargo aboard the ship. While onboard, the crew is under the command of the ship's master and the crew leader must coordinate all crew activities with the ship's master or a designated representative. Once the ship has undergone the transition from prepositioning mode to surge mode, the crew will be replaced with supercargo personnel.


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