The Port of Long Beach will be launching a pilot program at the port’s largest terminal to widen access and speed deliveries amid the ongoing cargo surge.
The new pilot program at the Total Terminals International container terminal on Pier T will make it easier for trucks to access the facility during overnight hours and allow for 24-hour cargo pickup.
The program is aimed at reducing “dwell” time, i.e. the amount of time cargo spends waiting for pickup on the dock, at the port’s largest terminal. The Port of Long Beach said it hopes the step will increase cargo pickup in the late night, early morning hours, when there is less traffic on the region’s freeways and surface streets.
Under the pilot program, truckers with appointments from 11 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. will be allowed access to the TTI terminal whenever they arrive, thus widening the window typically available. TTI will also opening gates during the third shift, from 3-7 a.m., Monday to Thursday, for two-way, prearranged truck appointments to both drop off and pick up containers in the same trip. Known as “dual transactions,” the practice pairs transport of a truck-hauled empty container for export with a loaded import container, thereby increasing efficiency. Visits will be arranged in advance, with chassis equipment drawn from the region’s “pool” so everything goes smoothly.
The pilot program announcement comes after the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, who are neighbors at the San Pedro Bay Port Complex, announced last week steps towards 24/7 operations, in conjunction with U.S. Department of Transportation.
“We are in the midst of an historic surge in cargo, and our terminal operators and other supply chain partners are giving their all to keep it all moving,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. “We welcome this pilot project by TTI as a first step toward extending gates to 24/7 operations, and we encourage our cargo owners and trucking partners to give this innovative program a try.”
“This is an ideal time to start these new measures as we work across the supply chain to find solutions to the current capacity crunch,” said Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners President Steven Neal. “Our supply chain workforce is to be commended for toiling tirelessly throughout this surge to keep record amounts of cargo moving.”
The new TTI truck access pilot program, which will be evaluated periodically and adjusted as necessary, was developed with the intent to drive down on-terminal dwell and increase driver productivity. To assess the program’s effectiveness, the terminal will monitor gate utilization, dwell time of import containers, and truck driver productivity.
“If we can increase utilization of our late night gates, we can better serve the supply chain, and help speed cargo to market,” said Bill Peratt, CEO of TTI. “By making it more convenient for truckers, we are optimistic that these steps can reduce the dwell time at our terminal.”
As we have been reporting, the numbers of vessels waiting at and outside the congested ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles has hit records in recent weeks as containerized imports continue to pour into U.S. ports ahead of the holiday season, driving record volumes at ports from coast to coast.
Sign up for our newsletter