Industry Stakeholders Address Potential Solutions to Congestion at Marine Terminal Gates

Marine Terminal Operators to Consider Additional Measures to Manage Truck Congestion

LONG BEACH, Calif., August 3, 2010 – A group of 30 stakeholders representing importers, exporters, motor carriers, ports, and marine terminal operators (MTOs) met to address potential solutions to increase productivity and efficiency at the marine terminal gates at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Over the past several months, a number of motor carriers, exporters and importers have raised concerns about the length of wait times to enter terminal facilities.

“We had a very successful meeting, with frank and open discussion from all stakeholders about the issues and potential solutions,” said Bruce Wargo, head of the working group and president of PierPASS, the non-profit formed by the West Coast MTO Agreement (WCMTOA) in 2005 to address marine terminal issues such as congestion, security and air quality. “The terminal operators acknowledged the stakeholders’ concerns and are committed to working together to seek solutions to the issues. Efficient cargo movement through the ports is a common objective of all stakeholders.”

When cargo volumes plunged in 2008 and 2009, terminal operators suffered deep losses – like others in the industry – and were forced to cut costs by reducing the number of OffPeak shifts and cut back on other types of service. Now that cargo volumes are picking up again, they are reinstating some of those services.

Seven of 13 terminal operators have returned to five OffPeak shifts, and 10 have reinstated continuous operations through the lunch hour and expanded gate hours by adding back flex gates during periods of peak congestion. Terminal operators have increased labor levels by 37 percent since the beginning of the year.

Additionally, several MTOs will rollout appointment systems in late summer and early fall in order to both prepare for seasonal volumes and to more evenly spread out container moves over the full hours of operation. The working group addressed potential issues involved with the rollout of appointment systems and discussed how to maximize the systems to space out demand.

Terminal operators will consider the concerns of the stakeholders and further discuss with the working group additional measures that may help reduce congestion and improve turn times.
For information on PierPASS, go to www.pierpass.org.

PierPASS is a not-for-profit company created by marine terminal operators at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in 2005 to address multi-terminal issues such as congestion, security and air quality. Under the program, all international container terminals in the two ports established five new shifts per week. As an incentive to use the new OffPeak shifts and to cover the added cost of the shifts, a Traffic Mitigation Fee (TMF) is required for most cargo movement during peak hours (Monday through Friday, 3 a.m. to 6 p.m.).