Trucking congestion must also be addressed by ports: Oakland is doing its best

Monday-through-Thursday second shift should ease crowds, move cargo quicker. But will shippers pay?

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As noted in this space last week truck congestion on the nation’s highways remains concern for the American Trucking Association. Gridlock at the nation’s ports is also a critical piece of this problem.

But creative solutions are being employed at the Port of Oakland this week as TraPac marine terminal introduces full service night gates for harbor truckers.  

The move to expand beyond traditional daylight hours is intended to ease daytime crowding and accelerate containerized cargo deliveries.

“This is another significant step in Oakland’s operational transformation over the last two years,” said the port’s communications director, Mike Zampa in an interview. “The terminals responsible for the vast majority of the port’s cargo now operate two shifts to combat truck queues and cargo delays.”

TraPac, Oakland’s second-largest terminal, said today it will operate night gates for freight haulers every Monday-through-Thursday.  Drivers can pick up or drop off cargo from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m., TraPac said.  Daytime hours – 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. - remain unchanged, the terminal added.  

The move replaces twice-a-week night gates at TraPac that offered only limited transactions for freight haulers. The terminal said truckers may now deliver export containers, collect imports and pick-up empty containers or container chassis.

“We are getting ahead of the demand,” said TraPac Operations Vice President Brian Bauer.  “Drivers, cargo owners and carriers associated with TraPac will see improved performance and know we are ready for growth.”

TraPac becomes the second marine terminal in Oakland to open at night for harbor truckers.  Oakland International Container Terminal introduced extended hours two years ago.  That terminal has reported reduced congestion and improved transaction times since adding a second shift.

TraPac said freight haulers should be able to complete transactions quickly at night because traffic is lighter.  The terminal added that daytime truck queues should shrink as a portion of volume will shift to nights.

The terminal issued the following guidelines for its night gate program:

Drivers will be able to pick up or drop off import, export and empty containers.
Through Oct. 26, TraPac will require appointments to pick up imports; beginning Oct. 29, appointments will be required for imports, exports and the return of empty containers.  Appointments won’t be needed to pick up empty containers.  
TraPac will assess a $30 fee on all loaded containers during day and night shifts starting Oct. 29 to defray the cost of extended operating hours.  Loaded containers leaving the terminal via rail won’t be assessed a fee.

As reported earlier in LM, night gates are the latest in a series of 2018 changes at TraPac in Oakland.  

We noted then that the terminal opened a new entrance gate complex for harbor truckers.  Next month, TraPac will complete a two-year expansion to double the size of its Oakland footprint.

The one question remaining, however, is how shippers will react to higher fees. 

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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Logistics · Transportation · trucking · All Topics
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