Byline: Stuart Chirls

NEW YORK — In the garment business, where merchandise can crisscross the globe on its way from factory to retail rack, it can be difficult for shippers to keep track of their cargo. Miss that tight delivery window, and a manufacturer can be looking at hundreds of thousands of dollars in returns or even be out of a store’s vendor matrix altogether.
Now a new Internet application can help streamline the tedious complexities of transportation within the U.S.
REZ-1 is a rail equipment reservation system developed by parent TIE Technologies of Newton, Mass., a transportation information services firm, and its intermodal marketing company partners, to help manage the fleets of box trailers, containers and chassis (flatbed trailers used to truck containers) that shippers need to get imported garments from U.S. ports to inland destinations. The system is designed to “help all parties in reserving and monitoring performance of rail equipment in real time, over the Internet, while improving asset utilization,” said Bill Habeck, president of TIE Logistics.
TIE Technologies first developed REZ-1 as a reservation, billing and management information system for EMP, the container-sharing system formed by Conrail, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific, that does the lion’s share of hauling containers and trailers in so-called “land bridge” service.
Here’s how the system works: When a customer signs up with EMP, it receives the REZ-1 software and shipping rate information. Like a hotel reservations system, REZ-1 tracks the real-time availability of containers, chassis and trailers at intermodal facilities from coast to coast, enabling customers to reserve the needed equipment in advance. In past years, equipment was rented on a first-come first-served basis. REZ-1 then handles all the logistics, from pickup and delivery to rail transport, of getting the container from a U.S. port to its final destination.

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