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.”

PierPass October News and Updates

PierPass Monthly Transaction Data  

Each month 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 September 2014.

Average in-terminal turn time:

  • 52.1 minutes day shift
  • 54.7 minutes night shift

For comparison, the average in-terminal turn time in August 2014 was 49.1 minutes for the day shift and 48.1 minutes for the night shift.

September was a particularly difficult month. Truck turn times increased due to cargo volumes increasing, chassis shortages, and rail availability causing cargo delays and an increase in the average in-terminal truck turn times.

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.

Frequent callers* average moves per day:

  • 9% trucks 5 or moves per day
  • 16% trucks 4 moves per day
  • 31% trucks 3 moves per day
  • 28% 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 September, 25 percent of frequent callers made four or more moves per day.

Day vs. Night Gates:

  • Average daily number of day gate moves: 15,404
  • Average daily number of night gate moves: 18,079
  • Number of day shifts open: 25
  • Number of night shifts open: 15

The number of unique trucks calling on the ports in September was 10,389.

Note:

  • All terminals were closed for the Labor Day Holiday.  Several terminals were closed due to the port fire September 22nd and 23rd.

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 September News and Updates

PierPass Monthly Transaction Data  

Each month 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 August 2014.

Average in-terminal turn time:

  • 49.1 minutes day shift
  • 48.1 minutes night shift

For comparison, the average in-terminal turn time in July 2014 was 48.7 minutes for the day shift and 49.2 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.

Frequent callers* average moves per day:

  • 9% trucks 5 or moves per day
  • 18% trucks 4 moves per day
  • 30% trucks 3 moves per day
  • 27% 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 August, 27 percent of frequent callers made four or more moves per day.

Day vs. Night Gates:

  • Average daily number of day gate moves: 14,605
  • Average daily number of night gate moves: 16,887
  • Number of day shifts open: 26
  • Number of night shifts open: 15

The number of unique trucks calling on the ports in August was 10,313.

Note:

  • All terminals were closed one night for the second shift for an ILWU Stop Work meeting on August 7.

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 Announces Free-Flow Program to Speed Cargo Through Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach

LONG BEACH, Calif., Sept. 11, 2014 – PierPass Inc. today launched the Free-Flow Program, testing a new cargo-handling process expected to significantly reduce the time it takes participating trucks to pick up containers at marine terminals.

Today’s random-access process – where any truck can show up at any time to pick up any container – hasn’t changed since containerization began in the early 1960’s. With new, larger ships unloading as many as 5,000 containers at a time, the random-access process is creating efficiency challenges at major ports around the world.

The free-flow process enables bulk delivery of large groups of containers belonging to the same cargo owner, trucking company or logistics company.

“To keep cargo flowing quickly as ships grow ever larger, we need to change how we move containers,” said PierPass President and CEO Bruce Wargo. “Doing the same things incrementally faster won’t solve congestion pressures.”

Mr. Wargo added, “How congested would LAX or JFK be if every taxi came for one specific person rather than picking up the first in line? That’s how the current container cargo system works.”

Under the Free-Flow Program, PierPass is working with participating terminals, trucking companies and cargo owners to test free-flow, measure its impact on cargo velocity and costs, and learn what methods and resources are needed to run free-flow successfully. If the testing demonstrates significantly positive results, free-flow is expected to become a regular part of terminal operations.

In a typical case, a large retailer that has 80 or more containers arriving on a single ship will arrange free-flow delivery with the marine terminal. In other cases, a trucking or logistics company can arrange for free-flow by consolidating groups of containers from multiple cargo owners.

Under the current system, when terminals unload containers from arriving ships they pile them into stacks in the order they come off the ship. When trucks arrive and request a specific container, it has to be located and dug out of a stack that can be four or five containers high and six containers deep. Container-handling equipment like rubber-tired gantry cranes (RTGs) must move an average of three containers to dig a specific container out of the stack and deliver it to a waiting truck. As a result, one RTG can deliver an average of only eight to ten containers per hour. Using the free-flow process, a tophandler crane is expected to deliver as many as 20 containers per hour.

The free-flow process starts when a ship is being unloaded. All containers claimed by a single owner, trucking company or logistics provider are piled into a separate stack. The cargo owner or its representative then sends a stream of trucks into the marine terminal through a special lane, and each truck takes the next container in the stack.

Trial runs of free-flow have shown a range of results and are helping terminal operators and trucking companies learn how to best structure the process. At best, trucking companies have reported turn times as short as 11 minutes, compared to about 45 minutes for a typical transaction.

Terminal operators believe that free-flow might eventually account for as much as 30% of cargo moves. While the trucks participating in free-flow will see the most dramatic improvement, the process should have a spillover benefit to the rest of the trucks, by reducing the number of trucks in the RTG lanes.

“While free-flow isn’t a silver bullet to fix all congestion issues, we believe it can significantly benefit port users,” Mr. Wargo said. “Terminal operators will continue to innovate how they handle growing cargo volumes, to ensure that the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach remain the most reliable and productive in North America.”

For additional information about the Free-Flow Program, see Rule 14 in the West Coast MTO Agreement’s Marine Terminal Schedule No. 1, available at https://www.pierpass.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/wcmtoa-10-8-schedule.pdf.

About PierPass

PierPass is a not-for-profit company created by marine terminal operators at the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach in 2005 to address multi-terminal issues such as congestion, air quality and security. To learn what it takes for a truck to drop off or pick up a container at a marine terminal, see http://youtu.be/P9IJN1yIIJ4. For additional information, please see www.pierpass.org.

# # #

PierPass Offers Opinion on 24/7 Gate Operations at Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach

Dear Users of OffPeak Gates,

Over the past few months, some port interests have been promoting the idea of mandating that terminals in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach operate truck gates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. On behalf of the terminal operators, I recently summarized our point of view on this position in a letter to a Member of the U.S. Congress. Because this issue has significant implications for port users, I am sharing our point of view with the broader cargo movement community.

While the idea may seem appealing when considered in a vacuum, it can’t survive a basic cost/benefit analysis. Such a mandate would undermine the competitiveness of the San Pedro Bay ports, as it would raise costs for shippers and drive away cargo.

When the terminals nearly doubled the number of gate hours per week under the PierPass OffPeak program 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).

As a result, marine terminal operators have never recovered the full costs of the night gate operations. The incremental costs of the current OffPeak night gates are approaching $180 million annually, with TMF collections falling short by $64.9 million in 2013.

The West Coast Marine Terminal Operators Agreement members recently contracted an accounting firm to calculate the cost of operating seven days a week, at either two shifts or three shifts per day. The firm took into account an expected decrease in the cost of existing shifts as a portion of cargo volume flows into the new shifts.

The accounting firm provided the following estimate:

  • Working two shifts per day, seven days per week would add $121.5 million to current annual operating costs, a 22% increase
  • Working three work shifts per day, seven days per week would add $167 million to current annual costs, a 30% increase

When the gridlock of 2004 threatened cargo owners’ ability to move their goods and strongly undermined community support, cargo owners were willing to accept a fee to open up new capacity. At this time, we believe cargo owners would be extremely reluctant to pay additional fees for adding capacity that is unneeded. Neither the trucking companies nor the terminal operators are in any financial position to pay the costs. Nor would we expect the money to come from taxpayers. (The OffPeak program receives no port, city, state or federal funding.)

Mandated 24/7 operations at the terminals would be financially crippling and would offer little practical benefit to the trucking industry. The second half of the existing night shift, from 11:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m., is significantly underused by trucking companies. The hour beginning at midnight receives only 66% of the traffic received during the busy hour beginning at 6:00 p.m., while the hour starting 1:00 a.m. receives only half (53%) of the 6:00 p.m. traffic. Traffic during the start of the day shift is similarly light.

When the terminal operators added the OffPeak second shifts in 2005, they and other stakeholders expected harbor trucking companies to begin running two shifts per day. While many have done so, a large proportion of trucking companies and drivers are instead operating a single shift, spanning the afternoon of the peak daytime shift and the first half of the night shift. If they’re not even taking advantage of having two shifts, there is little or no reason to believe that they would make much use of a third shift.

Unlike in 2005, there is no capacity crisis that needs to be addressed through a hugely expensive increase in hours of operation.

Nor will 24/7 operations will do anything to fix the largest cause of daily truck gate congestion: trucking companies sending trucks to park outside the terminals waiting for the OffPeak shift to start. These trucking company practices directly influence the length of turn times. Truckers can reduce their turn times by moving containers during the 8 to 10 hours per day when lines are short, and by taking simple steps to avoid trouble tickets.

Sincerely,

Bruce Wargo
President and CEO, 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 May News and Updates

PierPass Monthly Transaction Data  
Each month 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 April 2014.

 ***For more information about truck turn times and how we measure them, please see our new Q&A at Questions and Answers on Turn Times***

 Average in-terminal turn time:
• 38.7 minutes day shift
• 42.0 minutes night shift

For comparison, the average in-terminal turn time in March 2014 was 37.3 minutes for the day shift and 40.4 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.

Frequent callers* average moves per day:
• 11% trucks 5 or moves per day
• 19% trucks 4 moves per day
• 28% trucks 3 moves per day
• 24% trucks 2 moves per day
• 18% 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 April, 30 percent of frequent callers made four or more moves per day.

Day vs. Night Gates:
• Average daily number of day gate moves: 14,589
• Average daily number of night gate moves: 16,900
• Number of day shifts open: 26
• Number of night shifts open: 17

The number of unique trucks calling on the ports in April was 11,005.

Notes:
• All terminals were closed for the second shift one night in April for an ILWU Stop Work meeting.
• Several terminals were closed for the Cesar Chavez holiday.

PierPass April News and Updates

PierPass Monthly Transaction Data  
Each month 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 March 2014.

 ***For more information about truck turn times and how we measure them, please see our new Q&A at Questions and Answers on Turn Times***

 Average in-terminal turn time:
• 37.3 minutes day shift
• 40.4 minutes night shift

For comparison, the average in-terminal turn time in February 2014 was 40.6 minutes for the day shift and 43.7 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.

Frequent callers* average moves per day:

  • 6% trucks 5 or moves per day
  • 14% trucks 4 moves per day
  • 28% trucks 3 moves per day
  • 31% trucks 2 moves per day
  • 21% 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 March, 20 percent of frequent callers made four or more moves per day.

Day vs. Night Gates:

  • Average daily number of day gate moves: 12,387
  • Average daily number of night gate moves: 14,833
  • Number of day shifts open: 26
  • Number of night shifts open: 16

The number of unique trucks calling on the ports in March was 10,994.

Notes:

  • All terminals were closed for the second shift on March 6 for an ILWU Stop Work meeting.
  • Several terminals were closed for the Cesar Chavez holiday.

PierPass March News and Updates

PierPass Monthly Transaction Data  
Each month 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 February 2014.

 ***For more information about truck turn times and how we measure them, please see our new Q&A at Questions and Answers on Turn Times***

 Average in-terminal turn time:
• 40.6 minutes day shift
• 43.7 minutes night shift

For comparison, the average in-terminal turn time in January 2014 was 40.5 minutes for the day shift and 44.0 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.

Frequent callers* average moves per day:

  • 7% trucks 5 or moves per day
  • 17% trucks 4 moves per day
  • 31% trucks 3 moves per day
  • 27% trucks 2 moves per day
  • 18% 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 February, 24 percent of frequent callers made four or more moves per day.

Day vs. Night Gates:

  • Average daily number of day gate moves: 14,700
  • Average daily number of night gate moves: 14,764
  • Number of day shifts open: 23
  • Number of night shifts open: 16

The number of unique trucks calling on the ports in February was 11,061.

Notes:

  • All terminals were closed for the second shift on Feb. 6 for an ILWU Stop Work meeting.
  • Several terminals were closed for the Lincoln’s Birthday and Washington’s Birthday holidays.

Time to Face the Real Problems with Port Trucking

From: Bruce Wargo, President and CEO, PierPass Inc.

As someone involved with or interested in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, I believe you will want to know about efforts underway that could raise the cost of moving cargo through these ports.

Within our existing Peak and OffPeak shifts, there is plenty of available capacity for additional cargo. During the second half of the OffPeak shift (11:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m.), many terminals are seeing very little volume, and volumes are also often light during weekday mornings.

Nonetheless, certain trucking interests and their allies have called for mandating terminal gates at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to remain open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and want to impose penalties on terminals when turn times exceed a threshold.

The terminal operators believe these efforts are based on both faulty data and a failure to face the real problems with harbor trucking. In an effort to cut through to the truth, I wrote an opinion piece I wrote that was published Friday in the Journal of Commerce.

The article can be viewed here http://goo.gl/XRe3tB (requires JOC registration), and I’ve pasted a copy below.

Regards,
Bruce Wargo

It’s Time to Face the Real Problems with Port Trucking

Bruce Wargo | Jan 24, 2014 10:00AM EST

Published on JOC (https://www.joc.com)

Like death and taxes, it seems certain that wrangling between trucking companies and marine terminals over truck turn times will always be with us.

Trucking interests and their allies have called for mandating terminal gates at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to remain open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and want to impose penalties on terminals when turn times exceed a threshold. These efforts are misguided, based on both faulty data and a failure to face the real problems with harbor trucking.

Imposing such measures would achieve precisely the opposite of the intended effect, by significantly increasing the cost of doing business at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, driving away discretionary cargo, and thus reducing revenue opportunity for drivers and trucking companies serving the ports.

The turn time issue is a diversion that lets the trucking industry remain in denial about the real problems – too many trucks for the current volume of cargo, and inefficient port trucking practices.

Truckers face a big challenge to their economic model, which was built around used trucks that cost $15,000. Now they have new $100,000 trucks mandated by California and port clean air rules, and it’s a challenge for them to cover that increased cost under the current harbor trucking model.

Some of them are trying to make the case that they can’t pay for their trucks because the marine terminal operators aren’t working hard enough. But reducing turn times by a few more minutes isn’t going to solve their problems.

Turn times – the amount of time it takes for a truck to pick up or deliver a container at a marine terminal –have little to do with how much money truckers earn from port drayage. The idea that truckers could move more containers and earn more money if turn times were faster is based on faulty logic. All import and export containers at the ports already are being picked up and delivered. There are no extra containers waiting to be moved.

There are roughly 30,000 container moves a day and 10,000 port trucks. There are only two ways to change the average number of moves port trucks do in a day: Attract more cargo, or reduce the number of trucks. It’s simple arithmetic.

As long as those numbers stay constant, it’s a zero-sum game for truckers. The only way one driver can do more turns is by taking turns away from another driver.

A Finger on the Scale?

The Harbor Trucking Association recently introduced its Truck Mobility Report, which measures turn times at the LA and Long Beach terminals. While we welcome efforts by third parties to track cargo movement, we believe it is crucial for policymakers to understand what the numbers represent. What they certainly don’t represent is a benchmark to build policy around.

Consider this: if a bank opens at 9:00 a.m. and you show up at 8:00 a.m., is it fair to complain about having to wait an hour for service? That is how the HTA is tracking data.

Under the HTA’s methodology, it starts counting waiting time well before the terminal gates open. In the afternoons, if a truck lines up at 4:30 p.m. for the OffPeak gates that open at 6:00 p.m., the wait is counted as starting at 5:00 p.m., according to the HTA’s description of its methodology. In the mornings, the HTA says it begins counting wait times at 6:00 a.m., two hours before the gates are scheduled to open.

Initial lines typically disperse quickly after the gates open at 8:00 a.m. While a truck arriving at 8:30 a.m. will often be able to drive right up to the gate, a truck arriving at 6:00 a.m. is guaranteed a minimum two-hour wait. It makes no sense to average those times together and portray it as a measure of terminal efficiency.

Trucking companies need to start taking more responsibility for their business practices. By refraining from sending trucks to the terminals long before the start of the daytime and OffPeak shifts, avoiding the contractually-mandated lunch hours, and taking simple steps to avoid trouble tickets, they can significantly reduce their average turn times.

How Long is Too Long?

A question no one has answered: How long should turn times be, and why?

Picking up an import container at a terminal isn’t like picking up a cheeseburger at a drive through. More than a dozen important issues need to be addressed in security, financial integrity and safety during the process. Many of these checks are required by the Federal government to protect security and enforce trade requirements and duties, while others are required by the terminal operators to ensure that valuable cargo goes to its rightful owners.

Container shipping is a complex interplay among a large group of independent parties – manufacturers, cargo owners, shipping lines, terminal operators, labor unions, truck owners, truck drivers, chassis leasing pools, warehouse owners, logistics companies, railroads and more – and actions by any of those groups can easily throw the whole system out of whack. A case in point is the unusual congestion experienced at the ports in late December and early January this year. Multiple factors converged – a large number of ships arriving at the same time, a shortage of skilled labor due to holidays, and disruptions in the chassis pool as shipping lines transfer chassis ownership to third-party fleet operators.

Cargo owners and terminal operators are already investing heavily to prevent gridlock in and around the ports. Since 2005, our marine terminal operators have worked together through PierPass to address congestion issues by running OffPeak shifts on nights and Saturdays. PierPass has been extremely successful in meeting the objective of reducing congestion. The OffPeak shifts have enabled the Ports to avoid a repeat of the gridlock that brought cargo to a standstill in 2004. About 55% of container moves now happen during the OffPeak shifts.

There is plenty of unused capacity at the terminals. In launching PierPass in 2005, the terminals nearly doubled the number of gate hours per week. Container volume was expected to grow rapidly to fill the new second shift, but by 2013 it was only slightly higher than it was in 2005. For the ports to mandate 24/7 operations at current cargo volumes would be financial suicide.

The OffPeak program, which cost $161 million in 2012, is partly funded by the Traffic Mitigation Fee charged on non-exempt containers using terminal gates during peak hours. TMF fees, paid by cargo owners, totaled $111 million in 2012. The terminal operators made up the difference and contributed an estimated $50 million on top of the TMF to pay for the cost of the second shift.

Like other business owners, terminal operators must decide every day how to operate most efficiently amid changing conditions – how much labor to hire and when to deploy it, the optimal hours of operation, and financially viable levels of service. For a governmental body to dictate such things is a recipe for inefficiency and higher costs for all.

Ultimately, it’s the cargo owners paying the bills to move their cargo through the ports. Financial levies on other industry participants will flow through to the cargo owners and drive away their business.

The marine terminal operators are already bearing the financial burden of improving the efficiency of port operations. More governmental interference will not help, and will more likely than not hurt those it was intended to benefit. The real problem facing harbor trucks is one of oversupply – too many trucks chasing a finite number of containers. If the trucking industry is not willing or able to reduce the number of port trucks, then the only real solution is to increase the number of containers moving through the ports. The last things the ports need right now are higher costs and less flexibility.

Bruce Wargo is president and CEO of PierPass, Inc.