Steady Upward Track for 2011

Supply chain and logistics experts recently gathered for the Port of Long Beach’s annual “Pulse of the Ports: Peak Season Forecast” where they discussed the outlook for the industry in 2011. The general consensus was that international trade will continue to grow in 2011, though it will be modest growth compared to the double digit gains in 2010.

The key to success in 2011, as panelists pointed out, is planning for the future. Just as MTOs have been watching decreasing cargo volumes and responding accordingly, we need to continue to look ahead to ensure we are prepared for the upcoming peak season.

We are continuing to review weekly and monthly cargo volumes, talk to terminal operators and steamship lines about what trends they are seeing, and talk to cargo owners about what their expectations on cargo movements are this season.

As cargo volumes increase, the MTOs will review and reinstate flex gates and the noon hour relief and increase labor as appropriate to ensure that congestion is not a problem during the Summer peak season.

The Port of Long Beach Supports Upcoming Turn Time Study

We recently had the chance to catch up with Don Synder, Director of Trade Relations for the Port of Long Beach.  We asked Don about the Port’s participation in the upcoming  Turn Time Study, commissioned by the Truck Turn Time Stakeholder Group and conducted by Dr. Val Noronha of Digital Geographic Research Corporation to provide metrics for tracking and monitoring truck turn times.

Q: Why did you decide to contribute to funding for the turn time study?

A: Part of the Port of Long Beach’s mission is to facilitate cooperative efforts that result in efficient operations and improved turn-time. Our hope is that the survey will provide factual results with actionable data to help educate the industry on turn times. 

Q: What is the goal of the turn time study?

A: For the Port of Long Beach, the goal of the turn time study is to gain an understanding of the challenges that pose a barrier to improving truck turn times through our terminals.

Q: Why is the study important for the community?

A: Better turn times result in better service to our customers, better compensation for truck drivers, and lower air emissions for our neighbors. Combining efforts to learn more about terminal operations and tracking and reporting turn times will help us provide efficient operations at the ports to better the industry as a whole.

Q: What do you expect will be the results of the study?

A: The Port of Long Beach hopes that the study provides empirical information instead of anecdotal information to identify ways to improve turn times at the ports.  We look forward to communicating factual information to the industry on turn times.

Q: What do you plan to do in response to the data and analysis you receive from the study?

A: The Port of Long Beach plans to use the study data to facilitate cooperative efforts between all industry stakeholders that will result in efficient operations and improved turn-times at our Port terminals.

With OffPeak Program, Ports of LA and Long Beach Offer More Capacity Than Other U.S. Ports

Marine terminal operators in Los Angeles and Long Beach are closely watching turn times and congestion levels to evaluate any impact from the recent OffPeak schedule change. As of yet, we haven’t detected any unusual congestion as a result of the suspension.

Despite the suspension of the fifth shift, PierPASS continues to offer 55 OffPeak gates across 13 terminals, in addition to the 65 daytime gates, for a total of 120 gates per week for cargo pickup and delivery. Prior to the establishment of PierPASS in 2005, there were virtually no extra gates offered at the Ports beyond the regular daytime gates.

We believe that 55 extra gates a week is more than enough to handle current volumes and want to stress that there is still unused capacity during many times of the day and night shifts. The decision to suspend one OffPeak shift was made in light of the traditional seasonal decline in volume,  knowing that there is plenty of unused capacity during both Peak and OffPeak shifts that could absorb a reduction in gates without affecting turn times or congestion, and that the fifth gate would be added back when cargo volumes warrant.

For perspective, let us compare the PierPASS schedule to that of other ports in the United States. The Ports of Seattle, New York, New Jersey, and Miami all offer similar Monday-Friday schedules of approximately 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., including breaks (exact hours differ), with no extra night or weekend gates like those provided by PierPASS in LA and Long Beach. These ports only offer services outside of regular hours with “special agreements” with the Port Authorities. The San Pedro Ports provide 120 shifts – of which 55 are extra gates – for cargo pickup and delivery each week. No other port in the country provides this capacity.

Terminal operators are taking steps to adapt to market conditions during the traditionally slow period of January to April.  We will continue to closely monitor the volumes and adjust the OffPeak schedule as appropriate to ensure the viability of the OffPeak program and will look to reinstate the fifth extra gate when warranted. Please continue to visit the PierPASS website for the latest updates.

OffPeak Gate Suspensions

We want to address recent concerns following the announcement that four additional marine terminal operators at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will suspend one PierPASS OffPeak shift per week. These suspensions are part of the  process for marine terminal operators to continually adapt the number of OffPeak shifts to match fluctuations in cargo volume. The suspensions are a result of the traditional seasonal decline and should not cause further delays at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The MTOs will continue to address issues of congestion and closely monitor cargo volumes with the intention of returning to a fifth PierPASS OffPeak shift when cargo volumes warrant an additional shift. Please stay tuned to pierpass.org for additional updates.

Monitor Terminal Gate Lines in Real Time

Check out PierPASS’s updated live camera feeds showing different marine terminal gates at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

The page has been updated with camer feeds for STS and GGS. Click on any of the images to see a larger view. Click refresh on the page to get updated live images from the terminal gates.

We continue to update the page with additional camera views from all terminals to help LMCs monitor congestion levels at the terminal gates.

The Port of Los Angeles Supports Upcoming Turn Time Study

We recently had the chance to catch up with Michael DiBernardo, Director of Business Development for the Port of Los Angeles.  We asked Michael about the Port’s participation in the upcoming  Turn Time Study, commissioned by The Truck Turn Time Stakeholder Group and conducted by Dr. Val Noronha of Digital Geographic Research Corporation to provide metrics for tracking and monitoring truck turn times.

Q: Why did you decide to contribute to funding for the turn time study?

A: We felt it was necessary to capture data that will provide facts on how long truck drivers are queuing outside terminal gates. The terminals have the data once a truck driver enters the facility, but we have no means of measuring the queue time from a certain point outside the terminal. We felt the turn time study would help provide that data.    

Q: What is the goal of the turn time study?

A: For the Port of Los Angeles, the goal of the study is to receive factual data of truck queue times in order to accurately identify problems of congestion and/or bottlenecks at the port.

Q: Why is the study important for the community?

A: The turn time study is important to the trucking and cargo owner communities because it ensures that factual information about turn times is available. Currently, mainly anecdotal information is being communicated to cargo owners and the media.

Q: What solutions to truck congestion would be beneficial for the ports?

A: The Port of Los Angeles believes the following solutions will be beneficial for the ports:

  • Spreading out truck traffic to avoid peak congestion at 5pm
  • Implementing port-wide appointments that offer flexibility
  • Offering flex work gate schedules and five off-peak gates, which is already being done at most terminals
  • Ensuring trucking companies’ drivers continue to work after 11pm in order to maximize the off-peak gates

Q: What is the biggest misconception about turn times at the ports?

A: One of the biggest misconceptions is to assume that because one trucking company reports they experienced two or three hour turn times, all trucking companies are experiencing those delays. In general, turn times are much shorter than what has been reported by the media and the majority of companies are not experiencing these delays. It is true, however, that at certain hours of the day, turn times may be long due to trucks waiting for evening, or OffPeak, gates to open. Many  trucks show up at the same time to take advantage of the OffPeak gate.

Q: How will the results from the study be used to generate possible solutions to truck congestion at the ports?

A: Following the conclusion of the study, the Truck Turn Time Stakeholder Group will analyze the results and determine the next steps in addressing any issues that may be identified by the study. We will continue to keep the community updated with our findings.

Among Daily Port Visitors, 66 Percent Make 3 or More Container Moves Per Day

January 2011 Frequent Callers Metrics

The terminal operators and others are working to provide metrics for tracking port operations.

One important metric is the number of container moves trucks make per day. The data collected by PierPASS to run the OffPeak programs lets us see exactly how many moves each truck makes.

For the purposes of this analysis, we wanted to find out how many moves a truck makes if it is working every day. To do so, we looked at “frequent callers,” which the two ports define as trucks making one or more moves per weekday.

The data shows that 66 percent of trucks averaged three or more container moves per day in January 2011, compared to 81 percent in December 2010.

It is important to note that “moves per day” isn’t necessarily the same as “turns per day.” A turn, or round trip, can involve either one container move or two.

The terminal operators have begun reporting in-terminal turn times and are working on ways to track and report queue times outside the terminal gates. Stay tuned for more info soon.

PierPASS – Working Together to Combat Congestion at the Ports

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEVB2-7_3nM&hl=en&fs=1]

In 2011 the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are operating at high efficiency. Watch how PierPASS has helped ease congestion in the Ports and continues to stress the importance of bringing the community together to maintain San Pedro as the country’s premier port.

Turn Time Study in Progress

The Truck Turn Time Stakeholder Group (a collaboration among PierPASS, LA/LB port terminal operators, motor carriers, shippers, and port authorities in Southern California) is pleased to announce that Dr. Val Noronha of Digital Geographic Research Corporation has been commissioned to conduct a study to provide metrics for tracking and monitoring truck turn times.

The study is based on METRIS technology, deployed at the ports with the support of the USDOT Research and Innovative Technology Administration and the University of California, Santa Barbara. It will examine GPS tracks from thousands of truck trips to the ports each month. It will measure time outside terminals, time inside terminals, and other aspects of truck fleet performance.

The study is jointly funded by PierPASS, Ability Tri-Modal, and the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and is expected to be complete in March.

According to Bruce Wargo, President of PierPASS, “This study is an important part of our commitment to working with all stakeholders to identify ways to track and report queue times and offer solutions based on factual information.”

Among Daily Port Visitors, Nearly 50 Percent of Trucks Make 4 or More Container Moves Per Day

Monthly metrics for frequent callers

 

The terminal operators understand that turn times are an important issue for the truck community and are committed to working with the community to move cargo efficiently through the ports. Last summer, PierPASS formed a working group of 30 stakeholders representing importers, exporters, motor carriers, ports and marine terminal operators to address issues of congestion, including wait time outside terminal gates.

To be effective, this effort needs to be based on factual information. The terminal operators and others are working to provide metrics for tracking port operations.

One important metric is the number of container moves trucks make per day. The data collected by PierPASS to run the OffPeak programs lets us see exactly how many moves each truck makes.

For the purposes of this analysis, we wanted to find out how many moves a truck makes if it is working every day. To do so, we looked at “frequent callers,” which the two ports define as trucks making one or more moves per weekday.

The data shows that 81 percent of trucks averaged three or more container moves per day in December. Nearly half of trucks – 48.4 percent – made four or more moves per day. Twenty-two percent made five or more moves per day, and 2.4 percent averaged seven or more moves per day.

It is important to note that “moves per day” isn’t necessarily the same as “turns per day.” A turn, or round trip, can involve either one container move or two.

The terminal operators have begun reporting in-terminal turn times and are working on ways to track and report queue times outside the terminal gates. Stay tuned for more info soon.