In a move designed to increase efficiency and provide uniformity for drayage operators, terminal operators in Los Angeles-Long Beach late Monday announced a common set of rules for appointments when the PierPass extended-gates program is revised later this year.
The West Coast Marine Terminal Operators Association (WCMTOA) aims to reduce truck bunching and encourage beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) to consolidate shipments in peel-off piles by offering uniform appointment windows of two hours, and waiving appointments for individual import containers delivered during peel-off operations.
PierPass Inc. in mid-April announced that the 12 member terminals of WCMTOA will revise the extended-gates program. The OffPeak Program since 2005 has doubled the number of hours, to 80 hours a week, in which terminals in Los Angeles-Long Beach are open. WCMTOA anticipates launching what is called PierPass 2.0 in August, pending approval by the Federal Maritime Commission.
Program’s goal — reduce ‘bunching,’ late-afternoon lines
PierPass will shift from a congestion-pricing model, in which BCOs pay a traffic mitigation fee of $72.09 per TEU on daytime truck moves, to a flat fee of $31.52 per TEU to be charged for both day and night moves. In addition to cutting the fee by 55 percent, PierPass 2.0 is intended to significantly reduce truck bunching at terminal gates, especially the long lines that occur in the late afternoon.
Terminal operators since 2005 have opened their gates for the 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. shift and 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. (local time). This causes many truckers that arrive in the harbor in mid-afternoon to late-afternoon to wait outside the gates, or inside the terminals, for two to three hours until 6 p.m., when the traffic mitigation fee is no longer assessed to BCOs.
The original PierPass strategy was to move some traffic from the peak daytime shift, when area roads are most congested, to off-peak hours by charging a traffic mitigation fee only on daytime truck calls. The fee generates revenue for terminal operators to cover some of the costs they incur for running extended gates. Also, since 2005 truck traffic has been split roughly 50-50 between the day and night shifts.
Although the incentive to patronize the night shift will no longer be present, terminal operators expect to maintain the 50-50 split through the use of mandatory trucker appointments. The appointments will allow terminals to manage truck flow by scheduling only as many appointments as they can handle each hour, thereby distributing truck calls throughout the day and night shifts.
Two-hour appointment window
However, in order to be effective, all 12 terminals must have the same rules. Beginning in August, each terminal will have a two-hour appointment window. Also, the last appointment times will be at 3:30 p.m. on the day shift and 1:30 a.m. on the night shift.
Container peel-offs are being used increasingly in Los Angeles-Long Beach as another tool to improve gate efficiency. BCOs work with their truckers and terminal operators to create a critical mass of imported containers, which are placed in a single pile when they are discharged from the vessel. Truckers proceed one by one to the pile, with each trucker taking delivery of the next container to be peeled from the top of the pile. Under PierPass 2.0, appointments will not be necessary for truckers engaged in peel-offs.
The PierPass advisory committee and the extended-gates subcommittee have scheduled a meeting in October with BCOs, truckers, and other stakeholders to assess how the new program is working.
Contact Bill Mongelluzzo at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter:@billmongelluzzo.