LONG BEACH, Calif., August 25, 2010 – Stakeholders representing importers, exporters, motor carriers, ports, and marine terminal operators (MTOs) reconvened at an industry working group meeting, co-chaired by PierPASS and Ability-TriModal, to continue discussions on potential solutions to limit congestion outside the marine terminal gates at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The first working group meeting took place July 29.
An important consensus from all stakeholders in the working group was recognition of the industry need for five OffPeak shifts, as well as adding back the noon hour relief and early start of night shifts. By September 8, 11 of 13 marine terminals at the San Pedro Bay ports will have reinstated a fifth OffPeak gate shift in response to a substantial swell in cargo volume. An updated OffPeak schedule is available on the PierPASS website.
“All of the stakeholders are working toward the same goal – cutting down truck congestion at the ports and improving efficiency. We’re encouraged by the thoughtful discussions and commitment from all members of the working group to improve efficiency,” said Bruce Wargo, co-chair 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.
When cargo volumes plunged in 2008 and 2009, terminal operators suffered deep losses and were forced to reduce costs by cutting one OffPeak shift and other types of service. Now that cargo volumes are picking up again, the MTOs are reinstating services to address congestion, such as increasing labor levels by 37 percent since January 2010.
Wargo also welcomed Joshua Owen as co-chair of the working group. Owen is president of Ability-TriModal, a trucking, warehousing and distribution company. “Ability-TriModal has served Southern California for more than six decades, and Joshua brings deep knowledge and experience in the industry,” Wargo said.
“The working group brings a variety of perspectives to the table so we can understand the issues and identify potential solutions,” Owen said. “I’m excited to co-chair this group and contribute to these important discussions.”
Additional follow-up meetings have been scheduled to address terminology across all stakeholders and the possibility of combining data from GPS and RFID technologies to enhance reporting on trucker wait times outside of the terminal gates.
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.).
Ability/Tri-Modal is a third generation privately held trucking, warehousing and distribution company that has serviced the Southern California gateway for international cargo since 1947.