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.

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 Announces Executive Transition Plans

LONG BEACH, Calif., April 30, 2014 – PierPass Inc. today announced plans to transition its executive leadership over the course of 2014 and 2015, and said a search is underway for a new president. Current PierPass President and CEO Bruce Wargo, who has led PierPass since it was founded in 2004, will remain CEO and take on the additional role of board chairman.

Mr. Wargo will continue to provide overall leadership and promote a strategic direction for PierPass, including development of new congestion-mitigation initiatives currently under study. He has been asked by the PierPass board to remain in the CEO role into 2015. The new president will be responsible for day-to-day supervision of PierPass and the OffPeak program.

Under the OffPeak program, which PierPass launched in 2005, the 13 international container terminals at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach operate additional shifts on nights and Saturdays, to reduce weekday traffic congestion and improve air quality in and around the ports.

Over the past nine years, PierPass OffPeak gates have grown to handle about 55 percent of daily truck-borne container traffic at the ports, taking more than 29 million truck trips out of daytime business hours. OffPeak has greatly eased congestion on city streets and nearby freeways, and has reduced emissions from trucks idling outside of terminals and in traffic.

When Mr. Wargo assumes the role of PierPass chairman later this year he will replace Jon Hemingway, chairman of Carrix Inc., who has served as chairman of PierPass since its founding in 2004.

“By continuing to serve PierPass as CEO and chairman, Bruce will ensure the continuity of PierPass in both daily operations and long-term direction,” Mr. Hemingway said.

PierPass Video: What Happens When a Truck Picks Up a Container?


After a season of disruptions at major East Coast and Northwest ports, opinions are flying about strategies to keep truck deliveries at the terminals moving quickly. We’ve produced a new video to help those concerned with container throughput issues to better understand the system as it exists today. The video walks viewers through a truck turn from the moment it enters the terminal with an empty container to the time it leaves the exit gate with a full load. (Our previous video explored truck queues outside the terminal gates.)

I encourage you to watch the video and share it with your constituents. The video is available by clicking on the image above or through this link

Compared to several other North American ports that have struggled in recent months with unusually bad weather, operational problems and labor disputes, conditions at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have been much steadier. In-terminal turn time – the average amount of time a truck is inside a terminal to complete a single transaction – increased gradually from an average of 37.5 minutes during day shifts in February 2013 to 40.6 minutes in February 2014, a rise of about 8%.

Nonetheless, we believe changes underway with several links in the goods movement chain are likely to continue increasing turn times unless we revamp some long-established processes. These ongoing changes include the arrival of ever-larger ships, and the transition in how chassis are owned and managed.

The current random-access system – when any truck can show up at any time to pick up any container – hasn’t changed since containerization began in the early 1960’s. If we’re going to significantly change the results, we need to reevaluate how we deliver containers.

The terminal operators and other stakeholders are looking at a range of potential tools to maintain throughput velocity under these changing conditions. Possible delivery improvements under study include pre-staging containers for bulk delivery (also known as free flow), pre-entering truck and cargo information into terminal computer systems, and using cellphone lots and smartphone applications to better coordinate truck arrivals and shift traffic out of gate lines.

Thank you,

Bruce Wargo
President and CEO, 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.

PierPass Address Change

PierPass has moved locations. Our new address is:

PierPass
444 West Ocean Blvd., Suite #700
Long Beach, CA 90802

Please update your records accordingly. If you have questions please contact the Customer Service Center at 877-863-3310.

PierPass August News and Updates

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 2013.

Truck activity information is derived from RFID data.

Average in-terminal turn time:

  • 40.9 minutes day shift
  • 41.3 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 2013 was 36.4 minutes for the day shift and 38.7 minutes for the night shift.

Frequent callers* average moves per day:

  • 14% trucks 5 or moves per day
  • 20% trucks 4 moves per day
  • 28% trucks 3 moves per day
  • 22% 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 2013, 34 percent of frequent callers made four or more moves per day.

Day vs. Night Gates:

  • Average daily number of day gate moves: 15,926
  • Average daily number of night gate moves: 17,577
  • Number of day shifts open: 24
  • Number of night shifts open: 17

The number of unique trucks calling on the ports in July was 10,984.

Note:

  • Most terminals were closed on July 4th; all terminals were closed for Bloody Thursday on July 5th; many terminals were closed for Harry Bridges Birthday on July 29th.

PierPass July News and Updates

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 June 2013.

Truck activity information is derived from RFID data.

Average in-terminal turn time:

  • 36.4 minutes day shift
  • 38.7 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 May 2013 was 37.9 minutes for the day shift and 39.2 minutes for the night shift.

Frequent callers* average moves per day:

  • 12% trucks 5 or moves per day
  • 18% trucks 4 moves per day
  • 29% 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 2013, 30 percent of frequent callers made four or more moves per day.

Day vs. Night Gates:

  • Average daily number of day gate moves: 14,628
  • Average daily number of night gate moves: 16,787
  • Number of day shifts open: 25
  • Number of night shifts open: 15

The number of unique trucks calling on both ports in June was 10,721.

Note:

  • Terminals were closed one night shift for a Stop Work meeting.

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.

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