NEXT will by the end of the year open an 18-acre yard 10 miles from the Port of Long Beach that will harness the trucking company’s distinct Relay program that aims to improve cargo flow and cut turn times by dividing delivery and pick-up routes into four legs.
Instead of a drayage truck picking up a container and then driving 60 to 80 miles to deliver it to the warehouse, the NEXT system allows the trucker to drop the container at the NEXT yard and return to the port with another box, said NEXT CEO Lidia Yan. The container is then picked up at the yard and transported to its destination by an over-the-road driver, Yan told JOC.com.
That enables the drayage driver to do more turns in a day and ensure that each of them is a double turn, she said.
The system is the latest effort on the West Coast to increase cargo flow by building new yards as volumes increase, putting stress on port resources. Ports have sought to repurpose properties that may not be suitable for marine terminals for ancillary functions, such as container drayoffs and peel-offs, chassis yards, or logistics operations in the immediate harbor area.
NEXT officials say the Relay program gives shippers greater transparency in container movement and enables drivers to cut idle time. Shippers can book drayage services through the company’s online marketplace, which helps smooth the process and increase transparency in tracking the container, NEXT officials said.
Reducing the length of a drayage delivery “allows us to increase the efficiency and income for local drivers, because they are doing more runs,” Yan said.
The new yard, and NEXT’s existing 8-acre facility, which is about 15 miles from the port in Gardena, will together hold about 1,000 containers. NEXT began testing the four-leg system about a year ago, Yan said.
“Relay has been tremendously successful in its pilot program,” she said. “And with the new facility, we’ll further scale our approach to provide value for shippers and carriers.”