Majority of Terminals Operating Truck Gates Through Lunch & Shift Changes, as GGS Adds Saturday Shift

Dear Users of OffPeak Gates,

As you may know, congestion at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach has increased over the past several months amid disruptions in the supply of chassis and other factors. The marine terminal operators, while not owning chassis themselves, have been working with other key parties including chassis leasing companies to help mitigate the problems. The chassis disruptions have been compounded by ocean carrier alliances that are dispersing cargo among more terminals, the arrival of larger ships, a shortage of rail cars and locomotives, and the struggles of trucking companies to retain drivers.

In the meantime, the terminals continue providing additional labor to ensure sufficient capacity at the truck gates. The majority of the 13 international container terminals at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports are keeping truck gates open during lunch hours and shift changes. As the accompanying schedule of relief and flex gates shows, 77% of the terminals are hiring additional labor to keep terminal gates open during the day shift’s contractually-mandated lunch hour from noon to 1:00 p.m., while 85% are keeping gates open during the OffPeak shift’s 10 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. dinner hour.

Terminals are also opening gates early in the morning (flex gates) and keeping them open between shifts. Ten of the 13 terminals (77%) are running truck gates between the end of the day shift at 5:00 p.m. and the start of the OffPeak shift at 6:00 p.m., while eight (61%) are opening an hour before the 8 a.m. start of the day shift.

In addition, terminals continue to adjust OffPeak shift availability to meet demand. Beginning on Saturday Oct. 25, Global Gateway South (GGS) terminal at the Port of Los Angeles will begin offering an OffPeak shift during the daytime on Saturdays, bringing the total number of terminals operating Saturdays to eight. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday nights each have 12 terminals open to trucks, while all terminals are currently open Tuesday nights.

While we anticipate congestion will ease somewhat as the peak season passes, we expect it will take several months for the chassis situation to significantly improve. Although the current delays aren’t due to availability of truck gates, the terminals are monitoring the situation closely and will continue to adjust gate hours as needed.

Regards,

John Cushing
President, PierPass Inc.

Flex Gate Schedule_current.image

PierPass October News and Updates

PierPass Monthly Transaction Data  

Each month 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 September 2014.

Average in-terminal turn time:

  • 52.1 minutes day shift
  • 54.7 minutes night shift

For comparison, the average in-terminal turn time in August 2014 was 49.1 minutes for the day shift and 48.1 minutes for the night shift.

September was a particularly difficult month. Truck turn times increased due to cargo volumes increasing, chassis shortages, and rail availability causing cargo delays and an increase in the average in-terminal truck turn times.

In-terminal turn time is the average amount of time a truck is inside a terminal to complete a transaction. Truck activity information is derived from RFID data, and excludes lunch hour, breaks and trouble tickets. Turn time at individual terminals will vary depending on time of day and other factors.

For more information about turn times and how we measure them, please see our Q&A at http://goo.gl/PiOjBp.

Frequent callers* average moves per day:

  • 9% trucks 5 or moves per day
  • 16% trucks 4 moves per day
  • 31% trucks 3 moves per day
  • 28% trucks 2 moves per day
  • 16% 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 September, 25 percent of frequent callers made four or more moves per day.

Day vs. Night Gates:

  • Average daily number of day gate moves: 15,404
  • Average daily number of night gate moves: 18,079
  • Number of day shifts open: 25
  • Number of night shifts open: 15

The number of unique trucks calling on the ports in September was 10,389.

Note:

  • All terminals were closed for the Labor Day Holiday.  Several terminals were closed due to the port fire September 22nd and 23rd.

To learn what it takes for a truck to drop off or pick up a container at a marine terminal, please see http://youtu.be/P9IJN1yIIJ4.

PierPass Names John Cushing as President

LONG BEACH, Calif., September 17, 2014 – PierPass Inc. has named as its new president John Cushing, a veteran transportation industry executive and leader.

Mr. Cushing’s role gives him responsibility for PierPass programs to relieve congestion and improve air quality at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Mr. Cushing takes over the role of president from Bruce Wargo, who has led PierPass since its founding in 2004 and remains CEO.

Mr. Cushing founded eModal in 1999 and served as its president through 2009. Under his leadership, eModal developed widely used online services to coordinate activities between marine terminals and trucking companies, beneficial cargo owners, and others in the supply chain. Mr. Cushing grew eModal into the nation’s largest port community system, used at 41 marine terminals in 14 ports on both U.S. coasts.

From 2009 through 2013, Mr. Cushing led development of SSIT, a greenfield container terminal project on the Cai Mep River in the south of Vietnam. Since returning to southern California, Mr. Cushing has been involved in various maritime business development projects, both domestically and internationally.

Mr. Cushing’s extensive experience in the transportation industry began when he worked as a steamship line agent with Barwil Agencies. Later, as marketing manager at the Port of Los Angeles, Mr. Cushing helped establish the Port’s heavy container corridor, including leading the effort to pass a state law enabling the corridor. Other initiatives included his role in developing the Port’s first on-dock intermodal facility.

“John’s leadership in services for terminal operators, trucking companies and cargo owners, along with his experience developing and managing a new international container terminal, put PierPass and the OffPeak Program in able hands,” Mr. Wargo said. Mr. Wargo has taken on the additional role of PierPass board chairman.

Under the OffPeak program, the 13 international container terminals at the two adjacent ports operate additional shifts on nights and Saturdays. Since 2005, PierPass OffPeak gates have grown to handle about 55 percent of daily truck-borne container traffic at the ports, diverting more than 30 million truck trips from weekday, daytime traffic in Los Angeles and Long Beach. OffPeak has greatly eased congestion on city streets and nearby freeways, and has reduced emissions from trucks idling outside of terminals and in traffic.

 

PierPass September News and Updates

PierPass Monthly Transaction Data  

Each month 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 August 2014.

Average in-terminal turn time:

  • 49.1 minutes day shift
  • 48.1 minutes night shift

For comparison, the average in-terminal turn time in July 2014 was 48.7 minutes for the day shift and 49.2 minutes for the night shift.

In-terminal turn time is the average amount of time a truck is inside a terminal to complete a transaction. Truck activity information is derived from RFID data, and excludes lunch hour, breaks and trouble tickets. Turn time at individual terminals will vary depending on time of day and other factors.

For more information about turn times and how we measure them, please see our Q&A at http://goo.gl/PiOjBp.

Frequent callers* average moves per day:

  • 9% trucks 5 or moves per day
  • 18% trucks 4 moves per day
  • 30% trucks 3 moves per day
  • 27% trucks 2 moves per day
  • 16% 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 August, 27 percent of frequent callers made four or more moves per day.

Day vs. Night Gates:

  • Average daily number of day gate moves: 14,605
  • Average daily number of night gate moves: 16,887
  • Number of day shifts open: 26
  • Number of night shifts open: 15

The number of unique trucks calling on the ports in August was 10,313.

Note:

  • All terminals were closed one night for the second shift for an ILWU Stop Work meeting on August 7.

To learn what it takes for a truck to drop off or pick up a container at a marine terminal, please see http://youtu.be/P9IJN1yIIJ4.

PierPass Announces Free-Flow Program to Speed Cargo Through Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach

LONG BEACH, Calif., Sept. 11, 2014 – PierPass Inc. today launched the Free-Flow Program, testing a new cargo-handling process expected to significantly reduce the time it takes participating trucks to pick up containers at marine terminals.

Today’s random-access process – where any truck can show up at any time to pick up any container – hasn’t changed since containerization began in the early 1960’s. With new, larger ships unloading as many as 5,000 containers at a time, the random-access process is creating efficiency challenges at major ports around the world.

The free-flow process enables bulk delivery of large groups of containers belonging to the same cargo owner, trucking company or logistics company.

“To keep cargo flowing quickly as ships grow ever larger, we need to change how we move containers,” said PierPass President and CEO Bruce Wargo. “Doing the same things incrementally faster won’t solve congestion pressures.”

Mr. Wargo added, “How congested would LAX or JFK be if every taxi came for one specific person rather than picking up the first in line? That’s how the current container cargo system works.”

Under the Free-Flow Program, PierPass is working with participating terminals, trucking companies and cargo owners to test free-flow, measure its impact on cargo velocity and costs, and learn what methods and resources are needed to run free-flow successfully. If the testing demonstrates significantly positive results, free-flow is expected to become a regular part of terminal operations.

In a typical case, a large retailer that has 80 or more containers arriving on a single ship will arrange free-flow delivery with the marine terminal. In other cases, a trucking or logistics company can arrange for free-flow by consolidating groups of containers from multiple cargo owners.

Under the current system, when terminals unload containers from arriving ships they pile them into stacks in the order they come off the ship. When trucks arrive and request a specific container, it has to be located and dug out of a stack that can be four or five containers high and six containers deep. Container-handling equipment like rubber-tired gantry cranes (RTGs) must move an average of three containers to dig a specific container out of the stack and deliver it to a waiting truck. As a result, one RTG can deliver an average of only eight to ten containers per hour. Using the free-flow process, a tophandler crane is expected to deliver as many as 20 containers per hour.

The free-flow process starts when a ship is being unloaded. All containers claimed by a single owner, trucking company or logistics provider are piled into a separate stack. The cargo owner or its representative then sends a stream of trucks into the marine terminal through a special lane, and each truck takes the next container in the stack.

Trial runs of free-flow have shown a range of results and are helping terminal operators and trucking companies learn how to best structure the process. At best, trucking companies have reported turn times as short as 11 minutes, compared to about 45 minutes for a typical transaction.

Terminal operators believe that free-flow might eventually account for as much as 30% of cargo moves. While the trucks participating in free-flow will see the most dramatic improvement, the process should have a spillover benefit to the rest of the trucks, by reducing the number of trucks in the RTG lanes.

“While free-flow isn’t a silver bullet to fix all congestion issues, we believe it can significantly benefit port users,” Mr. Wargo said. “Terminal operators will continue to innovate how they handle growing cargo volumes, to ensure that the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach remain the most reliable and productive in North America.”

For additional information about the Free-Flow Program, see Rule 14 in the West Coast MTO Agreement’s Marine Terminal Schedule No. 1, available at http://www.pierpass.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/wcmtoa-10-8-schedule.pdf.

About PierPass

PierPass is a not-for-profit company created by marine terminal operators at the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach in 2005 to address multi-terminal issues such as congestion, air quality and security. To learn what it takes for a truck to drop off or pick up a container at a marine terminal, see http://youtu.be/P9IJN1yIIJ4. For additional information, please see www.pierpass.org.

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PierPass Offers Opinion on 24/7 Gate Operations at Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach

Dear Users of OffPeak Gates,

Over the past few months, some port interests have been promoting the idea of mandating that terminals in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach operate truck gates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. On behalf of the terminal operators, I recently summarized our point of view on this position in a letter to a Member of the U.S. Congress. Because this issue has significant implications for port users, I am sharing our point of view with the broader cargo movement community.

While the idea may seem appealing when considered in a vacuum, it can’t survive a basic cost/benefit analysis. Such a mandate would undermine the competitiveness of the San Pedro Bay ports, as it would raise costs for shippers and drive away cargo.

When the terminals nearly doubled the number of gate hours per week under the PierPass OffPeak program in 2005, container volume was expected to grow rapidly to fill the new second shift. However, by 2013 volume was only slightly higher than it was in 2005 (14.6 million TEUs in 2013 vs. 14.2 million TEUs in 2005).

As a result, marine terminal operators have never recovered the full costs of the night gate operations. The incremental costs of the current OffPeak night gates are approaching $180 million annually, with TMF collections falling short by $64.9 million in 2013.

The West Coast Marine Terminal Operators Agreement members recently contracted an accounting firm to calculate the cost of operating seven days a week, at either two shifts or three shifts per day. The firm took into account an expected decrease in the cost of existing shifts as a portion of cargo volume flows into the new shifts.

The accounting firm provided the following estimate:

  • Working two shifts per day, seven days per week would add $121.5 million to current annual operating costs, a 22% increase
  • Working three work shifts per day, seven days per week would add $167 million to current annual costs, a 30% increase

When the gridlock of 2004 threatened cargo owners’ ability to move their goods and strongly undermined community support, cargo owners were willing to accept a fee to open up new capacity. At this time, we believe cargo owners would be extremely reluctant to pay additional fees for adding capacity that is unneeded. Neither the trucking companies nor the terminal operators are in any financial position to pay the costs. Nor would we expect the money to come from taxpayers. (The OffPeak program receives no port, city, state or federal funding.)

Mandated 24/7 operations at the terminals would be financially crippling and would offer little practical benefit to the trucking industry. The second half of the existing night shift, from 11:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m., is significantly underused by trucking companies. The hour beginning at midnight receives only 66% of the traffic received during the busy hour beginning at 6:00 p.m., while the hour starting 1:00 a.m. receives only half (53%) of the 6:00 p.m. traffic. Traffic during the start of the day shift is similarly light.

When the terminal operators added the OffPeak second shifts in 2005, they and other stakeholders expected harbor trucking companies to begin running two shifts per day. While many have done so, a large proportion of trucking companies and drivers are instead operating a single shift, spanning the afternoon of the peak daytime shift and the first half of the night shift. If they’re not even taking advantage of having two shifts, there is little or no reason to believe that they would make much use of a third shift.

Unlike in 2005, there is no capacity crisis that needs to be addressed through a hugely expensive increase in hours of operation.

Nor will 24/7 operations will do anything to fix the largest cause of daily truck gate congestion: trucking companies sending trucks to park outside the terminals waiting for the OffPeak shift to start. These trucking company practices directly influence the length of turn times. Truckers can reduce their turn times by moving containers during the 8 to 10 hours per day when lines are short, and by taking simple steps to avoid trouble tickets.

Sincerely,

Bruce Wargo
President and CEO, PierPass Inc.

PierPass Diverts 30 Millionth Truck Trip From Los Angeles, Long Beach Peak Traffic

LONG BEACH, Calif., Aug. 28, 2014 – PierPass Inc. today announced that its OffPeak program has reached a major milestone, diverting its 30 millionth truck trip from weekday, daytime traffic in Los Angeles and Long Beach since the program began in July 2005. OffPeak has greatly eased congestion on city streets and nearby freeways, and reduced emissions from trucks idling outside of terminals and in traffic.

On an average OffPeak weeknight, 17,000 trucks visit the marine container terminals at the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach. If all of these trucks were lined up bumper-to-bumper, they would form a line 170 miles long, half the distance from Los Angeles to San Jose. Without the OffPeak program, this cargo would be crammed into a single day shift, more than doubling daytime volumes and causing major congestion.

Under the OffPeak program, the 13 international container terminals at the two adjacent ports operate additional shifts on nights and Saturdays. Over the past nine years, PierPass OffPeak gates have grown to handle about 55 percent of daily truck-borne container traffic at the port complex.

The OffPeak program has nearly doubled the capacity of the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Substantial unused capacity remains available at the ports within the current hours of operation. A large proportion of the trucks serving the ports work only a single shift, spanning the second half of the day shift and the first half of the night shift. Lines are typically short or non-existent during mornings and after 11:00 p.m.

“The terminals here have been delivering cargo reliably and without major disruptions since the 2004 congestion crisis that led to the creation of PierPass,” said PierPass President and CEO Bruce Wargo. “Terminal operators continue to innovate to keep cargo moving quickly as industry conditions change.”

The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have seen none of the major disruptions experienced by other large North American and European ports over the past year. While all import and export containers at the two ports are being delivered, the terminals have been managing through pressures caused by disruptions in several industry segments involved in cargo movement: huge new ships have begun calling at the ports, each carrying 50 percent or more containers than ships carried just a few years ago; chassis have often been in short supply since shipping lines began transferring chassis ownership to leasing companies; and the railroads that move about half of all containers in and out of the terminals have been late providing locomotives and railcars to the terminals as they struggle with nationwide capacity shortages.

The average in-terminal turn time – the amount of time it takes a truck to drop off or pick up a single container – in the first half of 2014 was 42 minutes, up 7.7% from the first half of 2013. Adding the average 20 minutes in queue outside the terminals, the typical single transaction takes about one hour.

“While port congestion has increased worldwide, the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are handling these pressures better than most of the other major ports in North America and Europe,” Mr. Wargo said. “One reason LA / Long Beach works is because the PierPass OffPeak program nearly doubled the capacity of the ports in 2005, with no taxpayer funding.”

About PierPass

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, air quality and security. To learn what it takes for a truck to drop off or pick up a container at a marine terminal, see http://youtu.be/P9IJN1yIIJ4. For additional information, please see www.pierpass.org.

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PierPass August News and Updates

PierPass Monthly Transaction Data

Each month 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 2014.

Average in-terminal turn time:

48.7 minutes day shift
49.2 minutes night shift

For comparison, the average in-terminal turn time in June 2014 was 44.2 minutes for the day shift and 46.2 minutes for the night shift.

In-terminal turn time is the average amount of time a truck is inside a terminal to complete a transaction. Truck activity information is derived from RFID data, and excludes lunch hour, breaks and trouble tickets. Turn time at individual terminals will vary depending on time of day and other factors.

For more information about truck turn times and how we measure them, please see our Q&A at http://goo.gl/PiOjBp.

Frequent callers* average moves per day:
11% trucks 5 or moves per day
18% trucks 4 moves per day
30% trucks 3 moves per day
25% trucks 2 moves per day
16% 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 July, 29 percent of frequent callers made four or more moves per day.

Day vs. Night Gates:
Average daily number of day gate moves: 15,732
Average daily number of night gate moves: 17,608
Number of day shifts open: 25
Number of night shifts open: 17

The number of unique trucks calling on the ports in July was 10,274.

Note:
All terminals were closed for the July 4th Holiday, the second shift one night for an ILWU Stop Work meeting, and several terminals closed July 28th for Harry Bridges Birthday Holiday.

PierPass July News and Updates

PierPass Monthly Transaction Data
Each month 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 June 2014.

***For more information about truck turn times and how we measure them,
please see our new Q&A at http://goo.gl/PiOjBp***

Average in-terminal turn time:
44.2 minutes day shift
46.2 minutes night shift

For comparison, the average in-terminal turn time in May 2014 was 41.7 minutes for the day shift and 43.7 minutes for the night shift.

In-terminal turn time is the average amount of time a truck is inside a terminal to complete a transaction. Truck activity information is derived from RFID data, and excludes lunch hour, breaks and trouble tickets. Turn time at individual terminals will vary depending on time of day and other factors.

Frequent callers* average moves per day:
11% trucks 5 or moves per day
18% trucks 4 moves per day
30% trucks 3 moves per day
25% trucks 2 moves per day
16% 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, 29 percent of frequent callers made four or more moves per day.

Day vs. Night Gates:
Average daily number of day gate moves: 16,061
Average daily number of night gate moves: 16,253
Number of day shifts open: 24
Number of night shifts open: 17

The number of unique trucks calling on the ports in June was 11,186.

Note:
All terminals were closed for the second shift one night in June for an ILWU Stop Work meeting.

Customer Service Advisory: Periodic Chassis Shortages

Dear Users of Peak and OffPeak Gates,

PierPass has been notified by several terminal operators of chassis shortages.
We strongly encourage your drivers to please bring in an export, empty or bare chassis when picking up an import. Please have your drivers ensure that chassis are in good order to prevent delays and/or issues with out-gating.

For additional information please contact the respective chassis pool provider.

PierPass Inc.