Marine Terminals Cannot Ignore Efficiency Question

While disputes between trucking companies and marine terminal operators over turn times may be nothing new, the excuses for inefficiency have gotten old. While we have argued and pointed fingers, cargo volumes have increased, congestion and gridlock has continued and the outside world looks on, wondering when this industry is going to get its act together. We would suggest, it’s time to try something new. Instead of excuses and finger-pointing, let’s try cooperation.

We need constructive input from marine terminal operators, not overheated rhetoric about solving our efficiency issues by eliminating trucking jobs. Cooperation on the efficiency question is possible and, we would argue, necessary.

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Take, for example, the recent collaboration between Yusen Terminals and Port Logistics Group on the Federal Highway Administration’s FRATIS demonstration project, which is testing enhanced data-sharing between trucking companies and marine terminals to better coordinate operations. It’s these kinds of partnerships which will ultimately lead to more landside efficiency.

The California Trucking Association suggests setting some shared principles:

  1. In-terminal and total transaction times should be monitored at California’s three major ports with the support and coordination of the respective port authorities.
  2. Marine terminal operators, trucking, labor and cargo interests should work collaboratively to bring federal, state and local resources to bear to demonstrate advanced technologies, operational models, and other projects which may have a positive impact on landside efficiency.
  3. Stakeholders should develop key performance parameters and incentive mechanisms for landside efficiency

One thing is clear. If our industries continue to ignore the efficiency question, we will lose the ability to provide market-based answers as regulators hone in on this sector. Let’s stop the finger-pointing and get serious about finding solutions.

Shawn Yadon is CEO of the California Trucking Association. For more information, please contact California Trucking Association at (916)373-3524 or visit

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