PierPass August News and Updates

Trouble Tickets

Marine Terminal Operators see the many trouble tickets that are generated each day as trucks attempt to deliver or pick up containers as something that could be reduced in numbers and therefore have a positive effect on the truck turn time. PierPass will be working with terminal operators on identifying common, reoccurring trouble tickets and recommending ways to improve them. Trucking companies are encouraged to check booking numbers and container availability in the individual terminal system to make sure of availability before sending a truck to the terminal.

PierPass Monthly Transaction Data  

As part of our monthly newsletters we provide a summary of the latest transaction data from marine terminal operators (MTOs) at the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach. Below please find data from the month of July 2012.

Truck activity information derived from RFID data.

Average in-terminal turn time:

  • 38.2 minutes day shift
  • 39.1 minutes night shift

(Excluding lunch hour, breaks and trouble tickets)

In-terminal turn time is the average amount of time a truck is inside a terminal to complete a transaction. Turn time at individual terminals will vary depending on time of day and other factors. The average in-terminal turn time in June 2012 was 38.1 minutes for the day shift and 38.4 minutes for the night shift.

Frequent callers* average moves per day:

  • 16% trucks 5 or moves per day
  • 22% trucks 4 moves per day
  • 28% trucks 3 moves per day
  • 21% trucks 2 moves per day
  • 13% trucks 1 move per day

*The ports define frequent callers as trucks making one or more moves per weekday. Average moves per day by frequent callers tells us how many moves a truck can make if it is working every day. In June 2012, 37 percent of frequent callers made four or more moves per day.

Day vs. Night Gates:

  • Average number of day gate moves: 17,389
  • Average number of night gate moves: 17,758
  • Number of day shifts open: 22
  • Number of night shifts open: 13

Approximately 8,500 trucks regularly service the POLA/POLB.


  • Closed one night for Stop Work Meeting, Bloody Thursday
  • Partial closure for 4th of July, Harry Bridges Birthday

Marine Terminal Operators at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to Adjust TMF on August 1

LONG BEACH, Calif., June 12, 2012 – The West Coast MTO Agreement (WCMTOA) today announced a 2.5 percent increase in the Traffic Mitigation Fee (TMF) at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, in order to address labor cost increases scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2012.

Beginning August 1, the TMF will be increased by $1.50 per TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) to $61.50 per twenty-foot container or $123 per forty-foot container. The current TMF rates are $60.00 and $120.00 respectively.

On August 1, 2011, the TMF increased for the first time since 2006. The $10 per TEU increase came after hourly labor costs increased more than 31 percent for the same period. At that time, WCMTOA announced that beginning in mid-2012 it would begin adjusting the TMF annually to address labor cost increases.

The Traffic Mitigation Fee helps pay for the night and Saturday marine terminal shifts created by the PierPass OffPeak program to relieve daytime congestion in and around the ports. It also provides a financial incentive to move cargo during less congested times. The TMF is charged for non-exempt containers moving during peak hours (Monday through Friday, 3 a.m. to 6 p.m.). Please refer to the web site www.pierpass-tmf.org for more information.

The terminals have operated the OffPeak gates at a loss since the program’s start in 2005, when they doubled the number of shifts per week, essentially spreading the same number of containers over twice the working hours. Cargo volume since 2005 has been essentially flat. The shortfall between TMF revenues and OffPeak gate costs was $55 million in 2011 and $52.3 million in 2010.

Before PierPass was created in 2005, the ports and nearby roads were gridlocked, ships were backed up in the harbor unable to unload, and cargo owners suffered long delays in receiving and shipping vital goods.

The program has been highly successful in its primary goal of easing congestion in and around the ports. Over the past seven years, PierPass OffPeak gates have grown to handle approximately 55 percent of all container traffic at the ports, accommodated more than 21 million truck transactions, and greatly eased congestion on city streets and nearby freeways during daytime business hours.

“The OffPeak program greatly increases the capacity of America’s largest port complex without requiring additional infrastructure,” said Bruce Wargo, president of PierPass, the not-for-profit company that runs the OffPeak program. “The program increases the already tremendous competitive advantage held by the Los Angeles / Long Beach port complex, which has the most concentrated set of port assets of any port in North America, has a workforce that’s ready, available and flexible, and whose Clean Trucks Program helped replace thousands of dirty trucks with the latest, cleanest models available.”

Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to Discontinue Clean Truck Fee

Trucks with engine years 2006 and older will be banned from port marine terminals in 2012

Beginning January 1, 2012 both the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach will no longer be assessing a Clean Truck Fee on trucks with an engine year of 2006 and older. Trucks with an engine year of 2006 and older will be banned from port marine terminals.

The PortCheck web site (www.pierpass-tmf.org) will remain open in January 2012 for payment of billed and accrued Clean Truck Fees prior to January 1, 2011.

PortCheck will be refunding Clean Truck Fees that were deposited in accounts but not spent. Customers should check their accounts and request their deposit refund no later than January 15, 2012. Deposit refunds that are not requested by January 15, 2012 may be forfeited as unclaimed deposits.

Customers with questions may contact the PortCheck Customer Service Center at 1-877-863-3310 for assistance.

PierPass Continues to Monitor Traffic Flows

This year to date, cargo movement has remained relatively stable at the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, and the current number of OffPeak shifts are sufficiently meeting demand.  However, as traffic movements shift, PierPASS will be ready to calibrate the right balance of nighttime gates required to maintain the free-flow of traffic in and out of the ports, and ensure that the ports work night and day to ease traffic congestion on Southern California roads.

PierPASS currently operates 57 OffPeak gates across 13 terminals, but this number has been adjusted over the years to ensure that terminals operate at optimum capacity.

In order to accurately gauge and predict the requisite number of nighttime gates, PierPASS continuously monitors weekly and monthly cargo volumes, talks to terminal operators and steamship lines about what trends in trade they observe, and meets with cargo owners about their expectations on cargo movements in coming seasons.

Terminal operators often must adapt to market conditions during the traditionally slow period of January to April, and then expand shifts during peak season. Being flexible to market fluctuations keeps the OffPeak program viable and the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles competitive.

PierPASS will continue to provide updates on the status of container traffic moving during nighttime and daytime shifts, and work with terminal operators, truck drivers, and shippers to ensure that gates are being fully optimized.

Air Emissions Reduced, According to Port-Funded Study

According to a new study on port emissions, air quality at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach has continued to improve during 2010.

  • The Port of Long Beach diesel particulate matter emissions decreased by 42 percent
  • The Port of Los Angeles diesel particulate matter emissions decreased by 39 percent

The port-funded study measured significant truck emission decreases in 2010. Among several clean air measures implemented and managed by the ports, such as cleaner truck standards, the study cites efforts to reduce idling times as being responsible for improved air quality.

Since its inception, PierPASS has managed more than 20 million OffPeak truck trips. During typical weekday traffic, OffPeak shifts handle over 63,000 truck trips. This dilution in traffic congestion not only positively affects air quality and truck emissions, but also improves idling times. The port-funded study indicated the noticeable differences in pollution measurements starting from 2005, the year many clean air measures, including the PierPASS OffPeak program, went into effect.

These results are welcomed, as last year the American Lung Association released a report citing the greater Los Angeles area as the worse city in the country for ozone layer pollution – examining fine particulate matter.

With programs such as PierPASS’ OffPeak Gates in place, and with more companies taking advantage of other clean transportation programs, pollution reduction at the ports is expected to continue in coming years.

Survey Results: Top 50 TMF-Paying Customers

Since the TMF rate increase took effect three weeks ago, PierPass has continued to closely monitor traffic.  Additionally, in order to gauge current attitudes towards the OffPeak program, PierPass conducted a survey of its top 50 TMF-paying  customers.  In a gratifying display of interest, over half of those surveyed (52 percent) responded.  So far, what has been observed anecdotally has matched with respondents’ answers – overall, a majority of customers support the PierPass OffPeak program.

The survey responses indicate that:

  • When given the option between a government solution and an industry driven solution, customers overwhelmingly prefer an industry driven solution such as PierPass.
  • When asked about whether general port conditions have improved since PierPass’ inception in 2005, a majority of respondents believe that conditions have improved.
  • When asked how important OffPeak gates are to ongoing business, most respondents indicated that nighttime gates are very important.
  • Almost all respondents said that they take advantage of OffPeak gates.
  • When asked how much the TMF increase would affect their business, most respondents believe that an increase in the TMF will affect their business only somewhat.
  • Finally, a majority of respondents indicated that a fee increase of $10 per TEU would encourage their decision to use nighttime gates.

As always, PierPass welcomes any and all feedback concerning the OffPeak program and issues dealing with improved efficiency at the ports.

TMF Increase Effective 8/1/2011

Effective today, the Traffic Mitigation Fee at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will increase to $60 per TEU / $120 per FEU for containers moving Monday – Friday, 3 a.m. – 6 p.m. The fee increase will help to offset the increased cost to operate PierPass OffPeak gates.

By nearly doubling the number of operating hours per week, the PierPass OffPeak program provides tremendous value and future growth potential to the goods movement industry, greatly increasing the capacity of America’s largest port complex without requiring additional infrastructure. Staffing the additional shifts (currently four to five per week, depending on the terminal) also provides additional work opportunities for truckers and cargo operations due to expanded economic activity in and around the ports.

If you have questions about the TMF increase, please call our customer service center at 1-877-863-3310.

PierPass Operational Costs and Financial Report Available

Over the years, several customers and stakeholders have asked for more information on PierPass’ operational costs and financial statements. In an effort to provide the industry with this information, we have asked our third-party auditors to prepare a detailed summary of their findings. That summary is available here. You will see that the revenue collected significantly falls short of the costs of the program. We hope these summaries address any remaining questions.

TMF Increase Effective One Week from Today

As a friendly reminder, next week the adjustment to the Traffic Mitigation Fee (TMF) at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will go into effect. Effective August 1, the current Traffic Mitigation Fee at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will increase to $60 per TEU / $120 per FEU for containers moving Monday – Friday, 3 a.m. – 6 p.m.  The fee increase will help to offset the increased cost to operate PierPass OffPeak gates.
The PierPass OffPeak program provides tremendous value and future growth potential to the goods movement industry, greatly increasing the capacity of America’s largest port complex without adding additional infrastructure. OffPeak gates help to minimize daytime traffic congestion, allow cargo to move faster at night on less crowded roads, and enables truck owners to deliver more loads through lower turn-times and twice the number of working hours in a day. The TMF funds the nighttime gates, which make these benefits possible.

If you have questions about the TMF increase, please call our customer service center at 1-877-863-3310.

OffPeak Gates and the Local Economy

First conceived of as an initiative to mitigate traffic congestion and reduce pollution in and around the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the PierPass OffPeak program has evolved over the past six years to serve as a major contributor of jobs throughout San Pedro Bay.

By essentially doubling the capacity of the ports through the addition of nighttime and weekend shifts, the program directly creates more than 200 jobs in the Ports.

Moreover, an untold number of additional jobs are created in the local area due to increased economic activity from OffPeak shifts. These jobs come in the form of security guards, logisticians, truck drivers, ship operators, and even waiters in local restaurants that staff-up for customers coming off night shifts.

Prior to the establishment of PierPass in 2005, Port employment was limited to regular daytime shifts. Fortunately, just before the economy began to decline, PierPass was created, increasing port capacity and, as a result, employment opportunities.

Today, the San Pedro Ports operate 122 shifts – of which 57 are PierPass OffPeak gates – for cargo pickup and delivery each week.

PierPass is committed to ensuring the Ports remain a consistent source of good jobs for those in the San Pedro Bay area by maintaining and building capacity, and continuing to improve efficiency of the Ports.