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.

# # #

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.

PMA & ILWU Provide Update on Contract Talks

The following statement was released today by the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU):

SAN FRANCISCO (June 4, 2014) – Negotiations for a new labor contract covering nearly 20,000 dockworkers at 29 West Coast ports are continuing. The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) have been engaged in talks since May 12. A media report suggesting a suspension in those talks was inaccurate. Both parties remain at the table and are working to reach agreement on a new coast-wide contract. The current six-year contract expires on June 30, 2014.

The original statement may be downloaded here.

PierPass May 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 April 2014.

 ***For more information about truck turn times and how we measure them, please see our new Q&A at Questions and Answers on Turn Times***

 Average in-terminal turn time:
• 38.7 minutes day shift
• 42.0 minutes night shift

For comparison, the average in-terminal turn time in March 2014 was 37.3 minutes for the day shift and 40.4 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
• 19% trucks 4 moves per day
• 28% trucks 3 moves per day
• 24% trucks 2 moves per day
• 18% 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 April, 30 percent of frequent callers made four or more moves per day.

Day vs. Night Gates:
• Average daily number of day gate moves: 14,589
• Average daily number of night gate moves: 16,900
• Number of day shifts open: 26
• Number of night shifts open: 17

The number of unique trucks calling on the ports in April was 11,005.

Notes:
• All terminals were closed for the second shift one night in April for an ILWU Stop Work meeting.
• Several terminals were closed for the Cesar Chavez holiday.

PierPass April 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 March 2014.

 ***For more information about truck turn times and how we measure them, please see our new Q&A at Questions and Answers on Turn Times***

 Average in-terminal turn time:
• 37.3 minutes day shift
• 40.4 minutes night shift

For comparison, the average in-terminal turn time in February 2014 was 40.6 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:

  • 6% trucks 5 or moves per day
  • 14% trucks 4 moves per day
  • 28% trucks 3 moves per day
  • 31% trucks 2 moves per day
  • 21% 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 March, 20 percent of frequent callers made four or more moves per day.

Day vs. Night Gates:

  • Average daily number of day gate moves: 12,387
  • Average daily number of night gate moves: 14,833
  • Number of day shifts open: 26
  • Number of night shifts open: 16

The number of unique trucks calling on the ports in March was 10,994.

Notes:

  • All terminals were closed for the second shift on March 6 for an ILWU Stop Work meeting.
  • Several terminals were closed for the Cesar Chavez holiday.

PierPass March 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 February 2014.

 ***For more information about truck turn times and how we measure them, please see our new Q&A at Questions and Answers on Turn Times***

 Average in-terminal turn time:
• 40.6 minutes day shift
• 43.7 minutes night shift

For comparison, the average in-terminal turn time in January 2014 was 40.5 minutes for the day shift and 44.0 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:

  • 7% trucks 5 or moves per day
  • 17% trucks 4 moves per day
  • 31% trucks 3 moves per day
  • 27% trucks 2 moves per day
  • 18% 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 February, 24 percent of frequent callers made four or more moves per day.

Day vs. Night Gates:

  • Average daily number of day gate moves: 14,700
  • Average daily number of night gate moves: 14,764
  • Number of day shifts open: 23
  • Number of night shifts open: 16

The number of unique trucks calling on the ports in February was 11,061.

Notes:

  • All terminals were closed for the second shift on Feb. 6 for an ILWU Stop Work meeting.
  • Several terminals were closed for the Lincoln’s Birthday and Washington’s Birthday holidays.

Time to Face the Real Problems with Port Trucking

From: Bruce Wargo, President and CEO, PierPass Inc.

As someone involved with or interested in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, I believe you will want to know about efforts underway that could raise the cost of moving cargo through these ports.

Within our existing Peak and OffPeak shifts, there is plenty of available capacity for additional cargo. During the second half of the OffPeak shift (11:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m.), many terminals are seeing very little volume, and volumes are also often light during weekday mornings.

Nonetheless, certain trucking interests and their allies have called for mandating terminal gates at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to remain open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and want to impose penalties on terminals when turn times exceed a threshold.

The terminal operators believe these efforts are based on both faulty data and a failure to face the real problems with harbor trucking. In an effort to cut through to the truth, I wrote an opinion piece I wrote that was published Friday in the Journal of Commerce.

The article can be viewed here http://goo.gl/XRe3tB (requires JOC registration), and I’ve pasted a copy below.

Regards,
Bruce Wargo

It’s Time to Face the Real Problems with Port Trucking

Bruce Wargo | Jan 24, 2014 10:00AM EST

Published on JOC (https://www.joc.com)

Like death and taxes, it seems certain that wrangling between trucking companies and marine terminals over truck turn times will always be with us.

Trucking interests and their allies have called for mandating terminal gates at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to remain open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and want to impose penalties on terminals when turn times exceed a threshold. These efforts are misguided, based on both faulty data and a failure to face the real problems with harbor trucking.

Imposing such measures would achieve precisely the opposite of the intended effect, by significantly increasing the cost of doing business at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, driving away discretionary cargo, and thus reducing revenue opportunity for drivers and trucking companies serving the ports.

The turn time issue is a diversion that lets the trucking industry remain in denial about the real problems – too many trucks for the current volume of cargo, and inefficient port trucking practices.

Truckers face a big challenge to their economic model, which was built around used trucks that cost $15,000. Now they have new $100,000 trucks mandated by California and port clean air rules, and it’s a challenge for them to cover that increased cost under the current harbor trucking model.

Some of them are trying to make the case that they can’t pay for their trucks because the marine terminal operators aren’t working hard enough. But reducing turn times by a few more minutes isn’t going to solve their problems.

Turn times – the amount of time it takes for a truck to pick up or deliver a container at a marine terminal –have little to do with how much money truckers earn from port drayage. The idea that truckers could move more containers and earn more money if turn times were faster is based on faulty logic. All import and export containers at the ports already are being picked up and delivered. There are no extra containers waiting to be moved.

There are roughly 30,000 container moves a day and 10,000 port trucks. There are only two ways to change the average number of moves port trucks do in a day: Attract more cargo, or reduce the number of trucks. It’s simple arithmetic.

As long as those numbers stay constant, it’s a zero-sum game for truckers. The only way one driver can do more turns is by taking turns away from another driver.

A Finger on the Scale?

The Harbor Trucking Association recently introduced its Truck Mobility Report, which measures turn times at the LA and Long Beach terminals. While we welcome efforts by third parties to track cargo movement, we believe it is crucial for policymakers to understand what the numbers represent. What they certainly don’t represent is a benchmark to build policy around.

Consider this: if a bank opens at 9:00 a.m. and you show up at 8:00 a.m., is it fair to complain about having to wait an hour for service? That is how the HTA is tracking data.

Under the HTA’s methodology, it starts counting waiting time well before the terminal gates open. In the afternoons, if a truck lines up at 4:30 p.m. for the OffPeak gates that open at 6:00 p.m., the wait is counted as starting at 5:00 p.m., according to the HTA’s description of its methodology. In the mornings, the HTA says it begins counting wait times at 6:00 a.m., two hours before the gates are scheduled to open.

Initial lines typically disperse quickly after the gates open at 8:00 a.m. While a truck arriving at 8:30 a.m. will often be able to drive right up to the gate, a truck arriving at 6:00 a.m. is guaranteed a minimum two-hour wait. It makes no sense to average those times together and portray it as a measure of terminal efficiency.

Trucking companies need to start taking more responsibility for their business practices. By refraining from sending trucks to the terminals long before the start of the daytime and OffPeak shifts, avoiding the contractually-mandated lunch hours, and taking simple steps to avoid trouble tickets, they can significantly reduce their average turn times.

How Long is Too Long?

A question no one has answered: How long should turn times be, and why?

Picking up an import container at a terminal isn’t like picking up a cheeseburger at a drive through. More than a dozen important issues need to be addressed in security, financial integrity and safety during the process. Many of these checks are required by the Federal government to protect security and enforce trade requirements and duties, while others are required by the terminal operators to ensure that valuable cargo goes to its rightful owners.

Container shipping is a complex interplay among a large group of independent parties – manufacturers, cargo owners, shipping lines, terminal operators, labor unions, truck owners, truck drivers, chassis leasing pools, warehouse owners, logistics companies, railroads and more – and actions by any of those groups can easily throw the whole system out of whack. A case in point is the unusual congestion experienced at the ports in late December and early January this year. Multiple factors converged – a large number of ships arriving at the same time, a shortage of skilled labor due to holidays, and disruptions in the chassis pool as shipping lines transfer chassis ownership to third-party fleet operators.

Cargo owners and terminal operators are already investing heavily to prevent gridlock in and around the ports. Since 2005, our marine terminal operators have worked together through PierPass to address congestion issues by running OffPeak shifts on nights and Saturdays. PierPass has been extremely successful in meeting the objective of reducing congestion. The OffPeak shifts have enabled the Ports to avoid a repeat of the gridlock that brought cargo to a standstill in 2004. About 55% of container moves now happen during the OffPeak shifts.

There is plenty of unused capacity at the terminals. In launching PierPass in 2005, the terminals nearly doubled the number of gate hours per week. Container volume was expected to grow rapidly to fill the new second shift, but by 2013 it was only slightly higher than it was in 2005. For the ports to mandate 24/7 operations at current cargo volumes would be financial suicide.

The OffPeak program, which cost $161 million in 2012, is partly funded by the Traffic Mitigation Fee charged on non-exempt containers using terminal gates during peak hours. TMF fees, paid by cargo owners, totaled $111 million in 2012. The terminal operators made up the difference and contributed an estimated $50 million on top of the TMF to pay for the cost of the second shift.

Like other business owners, terminal operators must decide every day how to operate most efficiently amid changing conditions – how much labor to hire and when to deploy it, the optimal hours of operation, and financially viable levels of service. For a governmental body to dictate such things is a recipe for inefficiency and higher costs for all.

Ultimately, it’s the cargo owners paying the bills to move their cargo through the ports. Financial levies on other industry participants will flow through to the cargo owners and drive away their business.

The marine terminal operators are already bearing the financial burden of improving the efficiency of port operations. More governmental interference will not help, and will more likely than not hurt those it was intended to benefit. The real problem facing harbor trucks is one of oversupply – too many trucks chasing a finite number of containers. If the trucking industry is not willing or able to reduce the number of port trucks, then the only real solution is to increase the number of containers moving through the ports. The last things the ports need right now are higher costs and less flexibility.

Bruce Wargo is president and CEO of PierPass, Inc.

The Truth About Turn Times: PierPass Video and Journal of Commerce Article Shed New Light

To increase understanding of the truck turn time issue at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, PierPass has created two important new pieces of content.

The first is a video, “A Day in the Life of the Terminal Gates at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach,” available above and through this link: http://youtu.be/dPvYq4rZI00

The second is an op-ed article that was published November 7 in the Journal of Commerce, available below and through this link: http://goo.gl/b9EWTu

Fact and Fiction at LA-Long Beach

Bruce Wargo | Nov 07, 2013 11:30AM EST
The Journal of Commerce

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have made tremendous strides in accelerating container movement in and out of the marine terminals. Most significantly, night and Saturday off-peak shifts run by PierPass at the 13 port terminals now handle as many as 17,000 container moves per shift compared with less than 15,000 for the average day shift — leaving the gridlock of 2004 a fast-fading memory.

Our terminals are some of the busiest and most productive in the world. In fact, Long Beach was tied for North America’s most productive port in a July 2013 Journal of Commerce report. Together, the two adjacent ports handle about 40 percent of all U.S. imports, while retaining plenty of spare capacity to handle volume growth.

Despite all that, some trucking interests continue to traffic in misinformation about productivity at the ports. At a recent meeting of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners, for example, representatives of the trucking community said typical turn times are two or three hours. With all due respect, that is simply false.

Here are the facts: The average in-terminal turn time across the 13 terminals in the ports during September 2013 was 36.4 minutes during day shifts and 41.1 minutes during night shifts, according to RFID tracking data. Adding 20 minutes for the average queue outside the gates, the turn takes an hour.

In 2011, the ports, terminals and trucking community published a comprehensive turn time study at the ports using GPS to track trucks. The study found:

  • The median wait time outside the gates was 20 minutes.
  • Only 9 percent of waits in queues outside the gates were more than an hour.
  • Only 3 percent of visits took three hours or more, including queue time and terminal time.

No system can eliminate all lines. From congested freeways during rush hour to movie ticket queues on a Friday night, lines form when everyone tries to use the same infrastructure at the same time. Container terminals are no different.

Every day, some trucks line up as much as 90 minutes before the gates open for the day and night shifts, guaranteeing themselves a long wait and creating a backlog. It’s like showing up at a restaurant 90 minutes before it opens and then complaining about the long wait. Trucks can avoid the longest lines of the day by avoiding the start of the shifts.

Those backlogs clear up quickly once the gates open. In fact, many terminals hire extra labor to open the morning and night gates an hour early — often at 7 a.m. rather than 8 a.m., and at 5 p.m. rather than 6 p.m.

During much of the day and night shifts, there is little congestion at the terminals. Although conditions vary, truckers can typically find the shortest lines by arriving from 9 a.m. to noon, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. That’s 10 hours a day when there are virtually no lines to enter the terminal gates.

To help trucking companies gauge congestion levels and make informed decisions on when to send drivers, PierPass has added live camera feeds of terminal gates to our Web site, pierpass.org. These feeds typically get more than 2,000 views a day.

In another initiative to keep trucks moving quickly, we are working with terminals and trucking companies to reduce the number of transaction problems. These problems — exceptions from normal processes that result in the issuance of “trouble tickets” — on average add about an hour to the turn time, according to a 2011 report by the National Cooperative Freight Research Program, and are responsible for many of the transactions that take the most time. Less-experienced drivers and companies that don’t serve the port regularly receive trouble tickets much more frequently, the NCFRP found.

Among a variety of causes, transaction problems happen commonly when truckers arrive to pick up import containers that are on hold. Containers can be put on hold for a variety of reasons, including U.S. Customs release, agricultural inspection and unpaid steamship charges or traffic-mitigation fees. Another common trouble ticket cause is when trucks deliver export containers with incorrect booking number information.

In these and other cases, trucking companies can avoid trouble tickets by checking the terminals’ online systems before prematurely sending a truck to the gates. APL Terminal in Los Angeles estimates that 65 percent of all trouble tickets can be prevented by checking online before sending a truck to the terminal.

We understand and share truck drivers’ desire to keep traffic moving as quickly as possible. But we must acknowledge the faulty logic behind the idea that truckers could move more containers and earn more money if turn times were faster. All import and export containers at the ports already are being picked up and delivered. There are no extra containers waiting to be picked up. The only ways truckers can get more turns is by increasing overall cargo volume or reducing the number of trucks.

This isn’t to say terminals don’t want to reduce turn times. In fact, we need to find ways to speed container movement if we’re going to be able to handle the increased cargo volume expected by 2020. The terminals are actively evaluating ways to change port processes to increase productivity. Watch this space.

Bruce Wargo is president and CEO of PierPass Inc.

Marine Terminal Operators at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to Adjust TMF on August 19

LONG BEACH, Calif., July 2, 2013 – The West Coast MTO Agreement (WCMTOA) today announced an 8.1 percent increase in the Traffic Mitigation Fee (TMF) at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, scheduled to take effect on August 19, 2013. The increase will sustain continued operation of PierPass OffPeak gates amid labor cost increases.

Beginning August 19, the TMF will be increased by $5.00 per TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) to $66.50 per twenty-foot container or $133.00 per forty-foot container. The current TMF rates are $61.50 and $123.00 respectively.

Since 2011, WCMTOA has been adjusting the TMF annually based on changes in maritime labor costs. In May, the Pacific Maritime Association, which negotiates and administers maritime labor agreements with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), announced an 8.2 percent increase in wages and benefits for the 2013-14 contract year.

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.).

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, spreading the same number of containers over twice the working hours. Cargo volume since 2005 has been flat. The shortfall between TMF revenues and OffPeak gate costs was $66 million in 2012, $55 million in 2011 and $52 million in 2010. For more financial information about the program, please see http://goo.gl/JiTaf.

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. Over the past eight years, PierPass OffPeak gates have grown to handle approximately 55 percent of all container traffic at the ports, accommodated more than 23 million truck transactions, and greatly eased congestion on city streets and nearby freeways during daytime business hours.

“OffPeak is one of a series of programs by port stakeholders that have greatly reduced congestion and air pollution around North America’s busiest port complex,” said Bruce Wargo, president of PierPass, the not-for-profit company that runs the OffPeak program. “The program adds to the tremendous competitive advantage held by the Los Angeles / Long Beach port complex, which has the most concentrated set of assets of any port in the country, has a workforce that’s ready, available and flexible, and has made remarkable strides in mitigating impacts on local communities.”

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, security and air quality. The West Coast Marine Terminal Operator Agreement (WCMTOA) is filed with the Federal Maritime Commission, and comprises the 13 international MTOs serving the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. For more information, please see www.pierpass.org.

# # #

Download Release

Trouble Ticket Report #4 – YTI

As part of our initiative to reduce the number of transaction problems experienced when trucks pick up or deliver containers at the marine terminals at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, PierPass has been surveying terminal operators to determine the most common causes of trouble tickets.

In this month’s example, Bill Peratt and Doug Hansen from Yusen Terminal Inc. (YTI) present their terminal’s experience for the months of November and December of 2012 and January of 2013. As with other terminals, a large percentage of trouble tickets could be avoided by checking the terminal’s web site or phone system before sending a driver to the terminal.

Although most trouble tickets can be avoided, it is important to understand that some containers such as hazardous, over dimensional and reefer containers will be issued a trouble ticket in order to have terminal staff review important paperwork, confirm reefer settings and confirm dimensions for terminal and vessel operations.

Bruce Wargo
President & CEO
PierPass, Inc.

YTI INC. LOS ANGELES TROUBLE TICKET ANALYSIS

Over the past three months as many as 8.25% of truckers attempting to enter YTI have been issued Drivers Assistance or “Trouble” tickets. The most common causes of trouble tickets included unavailability of import containers and booking number issues for export containers. Trouble tickets for both situations can be avoided by checking the terminal’s online container and booking number availability programs before sending a truck.

Another significant cause was import containers located in areas of the container yard that are closed due to vessel loading or unloading. As these partial yard closures are very dynamic, YTI suggests dispatchers check the YTI website shortly before sending a truck.

Trouble Ticket Analysis

The last three months show the following totals for trucker activity:

Month Total Passes Issued Total Trouble Tickets Percentage
Nov 2012 40,919 2,925 7.1%
Dec 2012 40,161 3,315 8.25%
Jan 2013 48,285 3,304 6.84%

.
The top 8 categories for the past three months are listed below:

Trouble Ticket Category November 2012 December 2012 January 2013
Booking error/number/equipment/TMF Hold 866 861 728
Closed Area of Yard 690 880 951
Line Empty not Allowed 499 363 195
Bad Container Number 158 217 229
Container on Customs/Freight/Terminal Hold 141 221 259
Trucker Not Authorized for Line 96 92 100
Container has Already Been Delivered 96 92 100
Free Time Has Expired 19 72 75
Total for Month 2205 2760 2611

.
Percentages for the top 8 categories in each month are presented:

PP Pie Chart

The best way for truckers to turn around quickly is to avoid trouble tickets.  Here is how you and your dispatchers can avoid these costly delays and help improve the overall experience when picking up or delivering a container to YTI.

YTI and its Steamship Line partners have made available several online resources for the trucking community. The YTI website, www.yti.com has complete information on import container availability and hold status. Steamship Line sites present all necessary booking information.

PP Yusen

For a live view of the in and out gates as well as the chassis yard at YTI, please also visit our website, www.yti.com to find “Terminal Cameras” on the bottom right hand side of our home page.  This view will allow you to see what a driver can expect on arrival. Please note that the gates are generally underutilized in the first half of the day.

PP NYK

To be sure that you and your dispatchers have the most up to date scheduling information about YTI’s gates and yard areas, please refer to the YTI website homepage or the eModal website at www.emodal.com.