PierPASS and Ability-TriModal lead anti-congestion movement at Ports of LA/Long Beach

An important consensus from all stakeholders in the working group was recognition of the industry need for five OffPeak shifts, as well as adding back the noon hour relief and early start of night shifts.

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Stakeholders representing importers, exporters, motor carriers, ports, and marine terminal operators (MTOs) reconvened at an industry working group meeting, co-chaired by PierPASS and Ability-TriModal, to continue discussions on potential solutions to limit congestion outside the marine terminal gates at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The first working group meeting took place last July.

An important consensus from all stakeholders in the working group was recognition of the industry need for five OffPeak shifts, as well as adding back the noon hour relief and early start of night shifts. By September 8, 11 of 13 marine terminals at the San Pedro Bay ports will have reinstated a fifth OffPeak gate shift in response to a substantial swell in cargo volume.

“All of the stakeholders are working toward the same goal – cutting down truck congestion at the ports and improving efficiency. We’re encouraged by the thoughtful discussions and commitment from all members of the working group to improve efficiency,” said Bruce Wargo, co-chair of the working group and president of PierPASS, the non-profit formed by the West Coast MTO Agreement (WCMTOA) in 2005 to address marine terminal issues such as congestion, security and air quality.

When cargo volumes plunged in 2008 and 2009, terminal operators suffered deep losses and were forced to reduce costs by cutting one OffPeak shift and other types of service.

Now that cargo volumes are picking up again, the MTOs are reinstating services to address congestion, such as increasing labor levels by 37 percent since January 2010.

Wargo also welcomed Joshua Owen as co-chair of the working group. Owen is president of Ability-TriModal, a trucking, warehousing and distribution company. “Ability-TriModal has served Southern California for more than six decades, and Joshua brings deep knowledge and experience in the industry,” Wargo said.

“The working group brings a variety of perspectives to the table so we can understand the issues and identify potential solutions,” Owen said. “I’m excited to co-chair this group and contribute to these important discussions.”

Additional follow-up meetings have been scheduled to address terminology across all stakeholders and the possibility of combining data from GPS and RFID technologies to enhance reporting on trucker wait times outside of the terminal gates.

In an interview, Wargo said the group is remaining watchful of the pending Teamsters’ effort organize drayage drivers.

“There’s not much we can do on this issue, except react to the outcome,” he said. “In any case, we are dedicated to keeping the gates open and efficiently run during peak hours.”

He also said the PierPass model is being examined by other ports.

“We’d like to help other ports create the same backbone as the ‘clean truck program,’” he said. “The AAPA (American Association of Port Authorities) is looking into this.”

For more stories on Ocean Freight click here.

About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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