OBSERVATION: Port support activities (PSAs) were tailored to support different functions at different ports.
DISCUSSION: The PSA's primary responsibility is to receive equipment at a marshaling area near the port and prepare it for staging and eventual loading aboard ship. Normal PSA functions include supervision, clerical support, maintenance of vehicles, staging equipment for the Transportation Terminal Unit (TTU), security, billeting of the PSA work force, messing, railcar off-load, and the repositioning of vehicles from the railhead or marshaling area to the staging area.
Some functions, however, were contracted out to the private sector. For example, one PSA contracted billeting with local motels/hotels and had messing catered by a commercial cafeteria. Aircraft were prepared for shipping under contract and longshoremen broke down rail loads and drove vehicles to the staging area. At some locations, the port authority provided general security of vehicles and equipment in the port area.
LESSON(S): PSA operations are labor-intensive even when some functions are contracted out to the private sector. The work force may easily require 100-200 soldiers if there are multiple railheads, convoy reception points, marshaling areas, staging areas, and ship berths.
Staff the PSA with nondeploying soldiers, if sufficient numbers of soldiers are available with the necessary skills (such as track and tank drivers, mechanics).
The learning curve for training PSA laborers and drivers is relatively short. However, labor and driver pools experience frequent turnover of personnel when sufficient nondeploying soldiers are not available and units are tasked to provide soldiers for the PSA.
Good supervision precludes accidents in port operations where personnel are tired and unfamiliar with equipment and the port.
Resources required by the PSA to manage its operations include lap-top computers, a copier, typewriters, assorted office supplies, railload breakdown tools, hard hats, medical support with ambulance, hand-held radios, portable/mobile (STU III-type) secure communication equipment and air-conditioned office space to keep high-technology equipment out of the heat, dust and weather.
OBSERVATION: Ship loading operations are prolonged when marshaling and staging areas are disorganized.
DISCUSSION: The vehicles of one unit were parked in no particular scheme or sequence. This hampered loading operations of the TTU.
Marshaling areas are used to receive convoys and process vehicles before they are staged for loading. PMCS is performed as well as any required organizational or direct support maintenance; nested loads (secondary loads on prime movers) are checked for security and documentation.
LESSON(S): A representative from the major unit (brigade or regiment) should be at the port from the beginning of the loadout and be authorized to make decisions regarding priorities. Park vehicles by type of vehicle first, then further divide them by subordinate unit. The major unit indicates its priority for loading by the order in which the vehicles are parked. This is beneficial to both the deploying unit in positioning vehicles and the TTU in calling vehicles forward for loading.
OBSERVATION: Inaccurate Automated Unit Equipment Lists (AUELs) delayed a ship from sailing.
DISCUSSION: A ship settled to the silt at its loading berth due to the unanticipated weight of unit equipment loaded in combat configuration. The ship weighed out before it cubed out. As the tide went down and the weight on the ship increased during loading, ramp inclines became too steep for use. The TTU had to wait until high tide to off-load enough weight to permit the ship to sail. There was a 2-hour window when the ramps were usable to off-load excess weight. The excess cargo was slipped to a subsequent ship.
The load weighed more than anticipated because the unit AUELs were inaccurate. Unit vehicles were configured for combat with unit basic loads (UBLs) on board, but the additional weight of fuel and ammunition was not included in unit AUELs. AUELs actually reflected the weight and cube of unit equipment configured for an administrative, peacetime deployment to a major training area. In addition, secondary cargo loaded on vehicles (nested loads) often was not included in the AUELs.
LESSON(S): Several factors influence a ship's ability to sail, including the weight of the cargo, ship draft when loaded to capacity, berth or channel depth, and tides.
AUEL accuracy is a unit responsibility. The AUELs must reflect the actual weight of unit equipment. Inaccurate AUELs have a rippling effect on loads planned for other ships. Subsequent call-forward plans are disrupted and scheduling of other convoys and rail shipments into the port must be adjusted to avoid clogging the port.
Include nested loads in the AUEL so their weight and cube are counted in the total load. Logistics Marking System (LOGMARS) labels must also be used to track secondary cargo in the automated system in case they are separated from prime movers for stowage aboard ship.
OBSERVATION: Many Logistics Marking System (LOGMARS) labels had to be remade at the port.
DISCUSSION: The Computerized Movement, Planning and Status System (COMPASS) report provides the basic data for the AUEL which is used to generate LOGMARS labels. However, the combat configuration of unit equipment was not properly reflected in some AUELs. This meant the LOGMARS labels generated by the AUELs were unusable. Relabeling the loads had to be done as the actual stow plans were made. The TTU used LOGMARS machines at the port to relabel loads. This worked but made the management and tracking system reactive rather than proactive.
LESSON(S): For the LOGMARS labeling and tracking system to be effective, units must submit accurate data in their COMPASS reports so that AUEL databases are viable in generating correct labels.
OBSERVATION: Labels initially produced by the Transportation Coordinator Automated Command and Control Information System (TC-ACCIS) were defective.
DISCUSSION: The glue on the back of the TC-ACCIS labels did not adhere adequately to vehicle surfaces and the paper on which the bar-coding was printed was highly susceptible to moisture and high humidity. Consequently, many vehicles arrived at the port without labels or with labels damaged beyond use by weathering. The labels produced by the TC-ACCIS were field-fixed using green tape to secure the labels in place on vehicles and a laminate to seal them against the weather.
LESSON(S): An improved label paper is now available, although a stock number has not yet been established because testing is still being conducted on several types of paper. The Project Manager for TC-ACCIS has coordinated with CONUS installations on their requirements and has provided them with stocks of the improved paper for the INTERMEC 8646 printer. Additional stocks are being provided to the European Theater. For more information, Contact PMO TC-ACCIS, AV 345-3325/6/7/8.
OBSERVATION: Large-sized supercargo teams were expensive to equip and sustain for the voyage.
DISCUSSION: Supercargo teams are soldiers who accompany, supervise, guard, and maintain unit equipment aboard ship. They also monitor equipment lashings and tiedowns for security, provide key control, note items not repairable en route, and brief the port Commander at the seaport of debarkation (SPOD) on vehicle condition and any peculiar aspects of the Cargo. Normally the size of the supercargo team is limited by the number of passenger berths available on the ship, usually about 12.
One major unit deployed 100 soldiers on each ship. This exceeded the resources available for supercargoes on the ship and the command had to locally purchase hundreds of life vests and a large number of life rafts for the deployment. The ship's complement of cold storage facilities was also inadequate to refrigerate foodstuffs for the extra personnel so the command acquired refrigeration vans for on-board operation and preservation of food during the voyage.
LESSON(S): The size of the supercargo teams dedicated to each ship should be consistent with the team's role in guarding and maintaining equipment en route, the resources available on the ship, and the additional costs required to equip and sustain the team en route. FM 55-65, Strategic Deployment by Surface Transportation, is a good reference on supercargo team composition, functions, planning and operations.
OBSERVATIONS: A deploying CSS battalion received early alert notification of its pending deployment but was also given the mission of operating the departure airfield control group (DACG).
DISCUSSION: When the battalion was specifically notified to load its equipment on a certain ship, the leadtime given was less than 48 hours. The battalion was unable to respond to this requirement as it was committed to operating the DACG and to providing transportation and other logistical support to the deploying division. The battalion had to load out on a later ship.
LESSON(S): Commanders scheduling a unit to deploy that is committed to a current mission must take into consideration the time required for the unit to delink from the mission and prepare its personnel and equipment for movement.
A unit identified for imminent deployment should not be committed to a deployment support mission unless it can complete the mission, or be relieved of that responsibility in sufficient time to prepare itself for deployment.
If a nondeploying unit is not available for the DACG mission, consideration should be given to activating an RC unit to operate the DACG from the beginning of the deployment cycle (or to assume the mission as soon as possible after activation).
OBSERVATION: The characteristics of foreign ships, contracted to supplement U S. deploy- ment capacity, were not included in the Computerized Deployment System (CODES).
DISCUSSION: Many foreign ships and their characteristics are not common to CODES. Basic ship characteristics (deck dimensions, square footage, ceiling heights) are not known or preloaded in CODES software. For example, the information received by a TTU on one foreign ship indicated the vessel had three forward "auto decks" (for shipping Cars) with ceiling heights of 7'8". However, when the ship docked and was inspected, TTU personnel bumped their hard hats on the Ceilings of the decks. The ceiling heights were approximately 6'. This compromised pre-stow plans because many pieces of equipment planned for stowage on these decks would not fit.
LESSON(S): Advance information received on foreign vessels must be considered tentative, pending physical inspection of the ships after they are berthed. Stow plans for nonstandard vessels have to be developed as the ships are loaded.
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