PierPass Will Retain Consultant to Evaluate Extended Gate Options

LONG BEACH, Calif., May 12, 2017—PierPass will retain a transportation consulting firm to evaluate the operational, business and traffic impacts of two alternative models for providing extended hours for truck gates at the marine terminals in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

The PierPass Advisory Committee (PPAC) and the Extended Gates Subcommittee met last week to review industry feedback received on two alternative models to the current OffPeak program and to identify key issues for the consultant to investigate.

The May 4 meeting continued a process that began at the Extended Gates Workshop held on Oct. 20, 2016, when the 13 marine terminals that comprise the West Coast MTO Agreement (WCMTOA) met with more than 70 leaders representing importers, exporters, trucking companies, logistics providers, government representatives, port authorities and other stakeholders.

Since then, the PPAC has held a series of meetings to review proposed models and make a recommendation to WCMTOA, which is responsible for deciding on any changes to the OffPeak program.

The three alternatives initially proposed were variable and dynamic pricing, under which the Traffic Mitigation Fee would be higher in times of high gate activity and lower in times of low gate activity; a lower flat fee applying to both 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. Variable and dynamic pricing was subsequently eliminated from consideration. For more information on these models, see https://goo.gl/Vxi89y.

Since the Oct. 20 meeting, the following steps occurred:

  • On Nov. 3, detailed notes from the Oct. 20 meeting, including pros and cons of each model, were distributed to PPAC members and additional feedback was requested. Those notes became the original basis for the recommendations report being developed by the PPAC.
  • The PPAC met on Dec. 8 to begin developing the recommendations report. Participants reviewed industry feedback received and offered additional points of view. At this meeting, the variable and dynamic pricing model was removed from consideration as it had received no industry support.
  • On Feb. 1, an initial version of the recommendations report drafted by PierPass staff was distributed to PPAC for review and feedback.
  • The PPAC met on Feb. 22 to review the initial draft and collect feedback. At that meeting, participants discussed the need to bring in a third-party consultant to analyze the ideas under consideration, due to the complexity and possible side effects of these changes.
  • On March 15, a revised draft of the report was sent to the Extended Gates Subcommittee for review and feedback. This draft included the recommendation to hire an industry consultant.
  • Committee members submitted input by April 14.
  • On May 4, PPAC and the Extended Gates Subcommittee met to review the recommendations, develop the scope of work to be included in a Request for Proposal (RFP) for consulting firms, and take recommendations for specific consulting firms.

Participants in the May 4 meeting agreed that the consultant should define and maintain a strict schedule of meetings and reports. The group will endeavor to have the RFP released within the next two months. The RFP may request deliverables such as:

  • Evaluation of the ability of a port-wide appointment system to maintain a roughly even split between day and night traffic.
  • Recommendations on how dual transactions (dropping off one container and picking up another during a single truck visit) could be facilitated under each alternative system.
  • Recommendations for handling regulatory, compliance and other challenges to implementing a port-wide peel-off system.

The PierPass Advisory Committee includes more than 25 leaders representing cargo owners, trucking companies, brokers, terminal operators and other stakeholders. The Extended Gates Subcommittee includes 15 additional industry stakeholders who volunteered at or after the Oct. 20 meeting.

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 on nights and Saturdays. The TMF also helps pay for the labor and other costs of operating the OffPeak shifts.