PierPass March News and Updates

PierPass Monthly Transaction Data  

Each month we provide a summary of the previous month’s 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 2015.

Average in-terminal turn time in February 2015:
49.6 minutes day shift
53.0 minutes night shift

For comparison, the average in-terminal turn time in January 2015 was 60.9 minutes for the day shift and 55.8 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.

Average daily moves per truck for frequent callers* in February:
5 or moves per day: 3%
4 moves per day: 7%
3 moves per day: 22%
2 moves per day: 43%
1 move per day: 25%

*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, 10% of frequent callers made four or more moves per day.

Gate moves during Peak and OffPeak/exempt shifts:
Total Peak gate moves: 242,181 (58%)
Total OffPeak/Exempt gate moves: 175,514 (42%)

A gate move occurs when a container enters or leaves a marine terminal via the truck gates. Peak shifts are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. OffPeak shifts are Monday through Friday, 6:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m., and Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday night and Sunday shifts, which are not regularly scheduled, are considered “exempt.”

Note: Many terminals were closed for one or both shifts on Feb. 12 for the Lincoln’s Birthday holiday and on Feb. 15 for the Washington’s Birthday holiday.

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.

With Labor and Chassis Issues Addressed, PierPass Member Terminals Increase Throughput 46% in First Half of March

LONG BEACH, Calif., March 18, 2015 —In the wake of a tentative labor deal announced Feb. 20 and the formation of a port-wide chassis pool on March 1, marine terminals at the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach moved 46% more cargo containers by truck during the first half of March compared with the same period in February, PierPass Inc. said today.

From March 2 through March 15, nearly 303,000 import and export containers moved by truck into or out of the terminals, compared to nearly 207,000 from Feb. 2 through Feb. 15, according to gate transaction data collected by PierPass. These include containers moved during day shifts and the OffPeak shifts managed by PierPass on nights and Saturdays. The OffPeak program diverts about half of port truck trips out of Monday-through-Friday daytime traffic while roughly doubling the capacity of the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports.

According to the Marine Exchange of Southern California, there were 30 ships waiting to be unloaded at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports on Monday March 16, down from 36 on Feb. 26.

“The terminals are intensely focused on returning to normal operations as quickly as possible,” said John Cushing, president of PierPass, which represents the 13 container terminals at the two adjacent ports. “While much work remains to be done, we can report progress in accelerating cargo movement by mid- March.”

PierPass today also reported some progress in reducing transaction times for trucks at the terminals. Average truck turn times dropped during the month of February (most of which fell before the Feb. 20 labor agreement) compared with January. It took trucks an average of 49.6 minutes to complete one transaction (picking up or delivering a container) on the Peak (weekday daytime) shift in February, down from 60.9 minutes in January. On OffPeak shifts, turn times in February averaged 53 minutes, down from 55.8 minutes in January.

In another move to reduce the cargo backlog, two terminals have leased additional port-owned land in order to accept empty containers and make more room for imports and exports. A third terminal has leased additional land to where it is bringing loaded containers mounted on chassis ready for truckers to pick up.

Terminal operators continue to work with trucking companies and cargo owners to increase the use of free-flow, sometimes known as peel-off, a practice PierPass has promoted to reduce truck waiting times. Free-flow enables bulk delivery of large groups of containers destined for the same location, typically to a single cargo owner. The terminals pre-stage the containers in a separate stack. The cargo owner then sends a stream of trucks into the terminal and each truck takes the next container in the stack.

“We have been very proactive with different terminal efficiency tools that include our appointment system and peel-off piles,” said Rickey Childs, head of operations for Eagle Marine Services. “We continue to work with the trucking community for increased OffPeak utilization, especially during the second half of the shift when there is minimal truck activity at the gates.”

On March 1, three of the largest chassis leasing companies at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports formed a gray chassis “pool of pools” intended to solve the chassis supply disruption that emerged last year after shipping lines sold their chassis to private leasing companies. The new system makes chassis interchangeable for truckers and terminals. The three leasing companies control about 100,000 chassis in Southern California.

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PierPass February News and Updates

Overview

On Friday February 20, the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union announced a tentative agreement on a new five-year contract covering workers at all 29 West Coast ports. The agreement, which is subject to ratification by both parties, is expected to allow the terminal operators at the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach to resume fully staffed operations and reduce the congestion that spiked during the nine-month labor negotiations.

January truck gate statistics at the two ports reflected high levels of congestion.

PierPass Monthly Transaction Data

Average in-terminal turn time in January 2015:

  • 60.9 minutes day shift
  • 55.8 minutes night shift

For comparison, the average in-terminal turn time in December 2014 was 55.9 minutes for the day shift and 58.4 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. For more information about turn times and how we measure them, please see our Q&A at http://goo.gl/PiOjBp.

Average daily moves per truck for frequent callers* in January:

  • 5 or moves per day: 4%
  • 4 moves per day: 10%
  • 3 moves per day: 27%
  • 2 moves per day: 38%
  • 1 move per day: 21%

*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 January, 14 percent of frequent callers made four or more moves per day.

Gate moves during Peak and OffPeak/exempt shifts:

  • Total Peak gate moves: 307,473 (56%)
  • Total OffPeak/Exempt gate moves: 242,961 (44%)

A gate move occurs when a container enters or leaves a marine terminal via the truck gates. Peak shifts are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. OffPeak shifts are Monday through Friday, 6:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m., and Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday night and Sunday shifts, which are not regularly scheduled, are considered “exempt.”

Note: Two terminals were closed during the first shift on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday, and one terminal was also closed during the second shift that day.

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.

Customer Service Advisory: YTI Will Suspend Saturday OffPeak Gates Starting March 7

Dear PierPass Customers,

YTI terminal in the Port of Los Angeles will stop operating Saturday OffPeak gates starting Saturday, March 7, 2015. Gate schedules for all terminals are available at http://www.pierpass.org/offpeak-information/. Please note that the gate schedules change effective Feb. 26 and again effective March 6.

GGS Suspends Saturday OffPeak Gates Starting February 28

Dear PierPass Customers,

GGS terminal in the Port of Los Angeles will stop operating Saturday OffPeak gates as of Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015. A new gate schedule for all terminals, effective Feb. 26, 2015, has been published and is available at http://www.pierpass.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/RollingSchedule.2.26.15.pdf.

PierPass January News and Updates

Overview

Unusually high levels of congestion continued in December at the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach. The ongoing shortage of available chassis continued to slow port operations. This was compounded by reported shortages of skilled labor needed to operate various terminal equipment.

Marine terminal operators worked to reduce the backlogs of containers by running 72 additional gates (shifts open to truck traffic) during the month. The 72 additional gates were a 31% increase over the 233 OffPeak gates originally scheduled for December. The MTOs operated 73 additional gates in September, a 30% increase, 86 additional gates in October, a 33% increase, and 118 additional gates in November, a 55% increase.

PierPass Monthly Transaction Data

After increasing for several months due to the congestion, truck transaction times began to fall in December.

Average in-terminal turn time in December 2014:

  • 55.9 minutes day shift
  • 58.4 minutes night shift

For comparison, the average in-terminal turn time in November 2014 was 58.3 minutes for the day shift and 61.4 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. For more information about turn times and how we measure them, please see our Q&A at http://goo.gl/PiOjBp.

Average daily moves per truck for frequent callers* in December:

  • 5 or moves per day: 5%
  • 4 moves per day: 11%
  • 3 moves per day: 28%
  • 2 moves per day: 36%
  • 1 move per day: 20%

*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 December, 16 percent of frequent callers made four or more moves per day.

Gate moves during Peak and OffPeak/exempt shifts:

  • Total Peak gate moves: 333,879 (55%)
  • Total OffPeak/Exempt gate moves: 271,302 (45%)

A gate move occurs when a container enters or leaves a marine terminal via the truck gates. Peak shifts are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. OffPeak shifts are Monday through Friday, 6:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m., and Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday night and Sunday shifts, which are not regularly scheduled, are considered “exempt.”

Note: All terminals were closed on Christmas Day, December 25. Some terminals were also closed for one or both shifts on December 24 and December 31.

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 December News and Updates

Overview

The marine terminals at the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach continued to experience unusually high congestion during November, and responded by operating 55% more OffPeak truck gates than originally scheduled.

The largest cause of congestion over the past several months has been the shortage of available chassis. This has been compounded by shortages of available longshore labor and truck drivers.

Marine terminal operators (MTOs) continued to work additional shifts in November to alleviate congestion. MTOs operated 118 additional gates (shifts open to truck traffic) in November, a 55% increase over the 213 OffPeak gates originally scheduled for the month. The MTOs operated 73 additional gates in September, a 30% increase, and 86 additional gates in October, a 33% increase.

The MTOs have been spending $3 million per week on additional and unbudgeted costs since September 1 to manage congestion. In addition to adding unscheduled gates and shifts, terminals have been working overtime and through lunch and breaks, and paying truckers to move containers between terminals to load on-dock trains.

PierPass Monthly Transaction Data

The same factors increasing congestion inside the terminals have also driven up truck turn times. Below please find data from November.

Average in-terminal turn time:

  • 58.3 minutes day shift
  • 61.4 minutes night shift
  • Turn times for November include 12 of 13 terminals reporting

For comparison, the average in-terminal turn time in October 2014 was 51.8 minutes for the day shift and 55.5 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.

Average daily moves per truck for frequent callers* in November:

  • 5 or moves per day: 5%
  • 4 moves per day: 10%
  • 3 moves per day: 29%
  • 2 moves per day: 36%
  • 1 move per day: 20%

*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 November, 15 percent of frequent callers made four or more moves per day.

Gate moves during Peak and OffPeak/exempt shifts:

  • Total Peak gate moves: 369,631 (54%)
  • Total OffPeak/Exempt gate moves: 315,783 (46%)

A gate move occurs when a container enters or leaves a marine terminal via the truck gates. Peak shifts are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. OffPeak shifts are Monday through Friday, 6:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m., and Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday night and Sunday shifts, which are not regularly scheduled, are considered “exempt.”

Note: All terminals were closed for the Thanksgiving Day holiday, and for an ILWU meeting on Nov. 6.

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.

Terminals Operated 55% More OffPeak and Sunday Truck Gates in November

Marine Terminal Operators (MTOs) at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in November continued to work additional shifts to alleviate recent congestion. MTOs operated 118 additional gates (shifts open to truck traffic) in November, a 55% increase over the 213 OffPeak gates originally scheduled for the month.

The MTOs have been spending $3 million per week on additional and unbudgeted costs since September 1 to manage congestion. In addition to adding unscheduled gates and shifts, terminals have been working overtime and through lunch and breaks, and paying truckers to move containers between terminals to load on-dock trains.

The terminals have been working with industry partners to relieve a surge in congestion caused by a disruption in chassis availability and other factors.

The MTOs operated 73 additional gates in September, a 30% increase, and 86 additional gates in October, a 33% increase. These additional gates include both OffPeak shifts (Monday through Saturday nights and Saturday daytime) and Sunday shifts, which fall outside the OffPeak program. The regular schedule of gate operation is available at http://www.pierpass.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/PierPass-Offpeak-Schedule_10-25-14.pdf. Monthly scheduled totals vary according to the number of business days and holidays in each month. The number of regularly-scheduled OffPeak gates was 245 in September, 258 in October and 213 in November.

PierPass Meets with Federal Maritime Commission and Industry Stakeholders To Address Congestion

LONG BEACH, Calif., November 17, 2014—PierPass Inc. executives have concluded meetings with the five Federal Maritime Commissioners (including Chairman Mario Cordero) and with FMC staff, briefing them on measures the marine terminal operator (MTO) members of PierPass are taking to address the current congestion issues in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. In a series of meetings late last week in Washington, D.C., PierPass also met with representatives from the National Retail Federation, the National Industrial Transportation League, the Waterfront Coalition, and the Agriculture Transportation Coalition to provide them with these updates.

PierPass Chairman Bruce Wargo and President John Cushing reported that the MTOs have been spending $3 million per week on additional and unbudgeted costs since September 1 to manage congestion. These expenditures include adding unscheduled gates and shifts; working overtime and through lunch and breaks; and paying truckers to move containers between terminals to load on-dock trains. The MTOs operated 73 additional gates (shifts open to truck traffic) in September, a 30% increase compared to the number of scheduled OffPeak gates, and 86 additional gates in October, a 33% increase.

PierPass also shared new initiatives its members are deploying to address chassis availability issues and to expand container delivery options to increase terminal productivity. These initiatives include the Free-Flow Program, which pre-positions large blocks of containers to enable quicker turn times for trucks picking up containers headed for a common destination.

The meetings provided an opportunity for PierPass to discuss recent calls for it to waive its Traffic Mitigation Fee (TMF). The TMF offsets part of the cost of running the OffPeak Program, which has essentially doubled the capacity of the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach by running regular night and Saturday shifts. Charging the TMF on daytime cargo movement also provides the incentive to use the second shift.

The OffPeak program has successfully balanced the flow of trucks to the ports, which prior to OffPeak’s introduction in 2005 was causing severe daytime congestion on Southern California roads. In the meetings, PierPass cited its concerns that by waiving the TMF, the previous congestion problems would be reintroduced and would exacerbate the current congestion caused by a range of factors including shortages of available chassis.

“The meetings with the FMC were very constructive,” Cushing said. “We also found the meeting with the stakeholder representatives to be productive. Such discussions with a broad array of industry stakeholders, similar to meetings with our own Advisory Committee, help us focus on the real impediments to our common goal, which is to move cargo as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

Counting on Common Sense to Tackle Port Congestion

PierPass President John Cushing on Friday published the following op-ed in the Journal of Commerce. The original article is available here.

Counting on Common Sense to Tackle Port Congestion

John Cushing, President of PierPass Inc. | Nov 07, 2014 12:03PM EST

The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are experiencing the most serious congestion in years. While a broad range of factors have contributed to the situation, there is widespread agreement in the industry that the largest single problem right now is a shortage of available chassis. That problem and related ones are the focus of intensive activity by the ports, the terminal operators and other stakeholders in the supply chain.

Meanwhile, the largest single solution to congestion over the past decade has been the OffPeak Program run by PierPass, which essentially doubled the capacity of the two ports by running regular night and Saturday shifts since 2005.

The central enabling factor of the OffPeak Program is the TMF (Traffic Mitigation Fee), which has a dual purpose. By charging the TMF on daytime cargo movement, it provides the incentive to use the second shift. And the TMF is used by the terminal operators to help cover the labor costs of operating these additional shifts.

A handful of trade associations representing importers and exporters last week called for the TMF to be temporarily suspended or turned into an around-the-clock flat fee paid on all containers, claiming this would somehow relieve congestion. None of them have explained how this would relieve congestion.

So what’s this really all about?

The current pile-on is an attempt to use the congestion crisis to accomplish an unrelated goal, one that has nothing to do with relieving congestion and would in fact greatly increase it. Many of these groups have for years advocated for eliminating the Traffic Mitigation Fee for a variety of different reasons. They love the OffPeak gates, they just don’t want to pay for them.

Truck drivers and trucking companies don’t pay the fee, and neither do federal, state or local taxpayers. The OffPeak Program was designed to be paid for by the importers and exporters who use the ports to ship and receive their cargo.

These trade associations are calling on government agencies (the Federal Maritime Commission and the two ports) to force private companies to provide highly expensive services for free. Doing so would inflict severe financial harm on the terminals.

Running the OffPeak gates is inherently expensive. Terminal operators cannot pay for the labor that is required to maintain OffPeak gates without a compensating source of revenue.

The TMF has never fully paid for the OffPeak Program. When the terminals nearly doubled the number of gate hours per week with OffPeak 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).

In other words, in 2013 terminal operators ran nearly twice the number of shifts to move the same volume of cargo they did in 2005.

As a result, the terminals have never recovered the full costs of the night gate operations. The shortfall between TMF revenue and OffPeak gate costs was $64.9 million in 2013. The terminal operators have paid the balance every year since 2005.

The terminals are highly motivated to relieve the congestion that is choking their ability to operate and driving up their operational costs. Since September 1, the 13 terminals have been spending an additional and unbudgeted $3 million per week on extra labor to open additional gates and manage yard congestion.

Fortunately, many in the supply chain are actively working together to tackle what are widely acknowledged to be the real causes of the current congestion problems. The recent agreement by the four largest chassis leasing companies to form a common pool is a big step forward. The challenges of multi-terminal calls by alliance partners are being addressed. Terminals have been running extra shifts and gates, and have been coordinating with cargo owners and trucking companies to deliver large blocks of containers in a free-flow process. Meanwhile, trucking companies and railroads are making operational changes to better deploy their drivers and rail assets.

To achieve real solutions, we need to stay focused on the real problems.