West Coast Terminals Evaluate Extended Gate Options

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The marine terminals at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach held a workshop on Oct. 20 with industry stakeholders to evaluate potential alternatives to the current extended gates model used at the ports under the OffPeak Program.

The 13 container terminals that comprise the West Coast MTO Agreement (WCMTOA) met in San Pedro with more than 70 leaders representing importers, exporters, trucking companies, logistics providers, government representatives and other stakeholders. The OffPeak program is managed by PierPass Inc., a not-for-profit company formed by WCMTOA to coordinate multi-terminal programs addressing congestion, air quality and security.

PierPass launched the OffPeak program in 2005 to reduce severe cargo-related congestion on local streets and highways around the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports. Using a congestion pricing model, PierPass charges a Traffic Mitigation Fee (TMF) on weekday daytime cargo moves to incentivize cargo owners to use the OffPeak shifts. The TMF also helps pay for the labor and other costs of operating the OffPeak shifts.

Since 2005, OffPeak has taken more than 35 million truck trips out of daytime Southern California traffic and diverted them to less congested nights and weekends.

Various interested parties have proposed alternate models for the extended gates. These include variable pricing, under which the TMF would be higher in times of high gate activity and lower in times of low gate activity; a lower flat fee applying both to day and night moves, with appointment systems to help regulate traffic flow; and port-wide peel-off, in which trucks would operate like taxis in an airport queue and each pick up the next available container.

Working with PierPass staff, the PierPass Advisory Committee has been tasked with compiling the feedback received at the workshop and producing a report, with possible recommendations, on proposed changes to the model. PierPass will distribute the final draft of the Extended Gates Report and Recommendations in mid-April. A follow-up to the Extended Gates Workshop has been scheduled for early May.

“The stakeholders who gathered yesterday share the goals of moving cargo efficiently and productively through the ports while minimizing impacts on neighboring communities,” said PierPass President John Cushing. “We welcome stakeholder input on potential alternatives to meeting the needs of operating and funding extended gates and distributing truck traffic between day and night to minimize road congestion.”

The West Coast MTO Agreement is filed with the Federal Maritime Commission, and comprises the 13 marine terminal operators serving the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports.