Tuesday, January 12, 2010

SoCal Ports' Nighttime Gate Program Hampered by Low Volumes

PierPass, the nighttime gates program at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles introduced in 2005 to deal with daytime truck congestion, could find itself a victim of the industry-wide downturn in cargo volume, according to NYK Line Americas Executive Vice President Peter Keller.

Keller told the audience of the National Retail Federation annual conference on Monday that the program, which places charges on daytime moves that are then used to pay for nighttime gates at the two ports to remain open, has had to drop some nighttime service due to a lack of volume. This has forced some shippers to shift cargo to the daytime gates and incur the additional daytime charges.

Keller said that the program, created by terminal operators at the height of the cargo boom in LA/LB, no longer makes sense with the recent drop in cargo volumes– which some individual LA/LB terminals have reported to be as high as 30 percent over the past year.

By all accounts the program has been a tremendous success, with nighttime gates paid for by PierPass at one time handling up to 40 percent of all gate moves at the two ports. However, with a surplus of daytime manpower and each nighttime gate requiring more costly overtime hours, Keller said he believes that the current efficacy of PierPass should be looked at closely.