Tuesday, November 18, 2014

POLB Approves Anti-Congestion Measure

By Mark Edward Nero

The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners on Nov. 13 approved the use of port property as a temporary site for empty container storage, which is expected to help to free up equipment needed to move cargo out of shipping terminals faster. The new temporary empty container depot is to be operated on 30 acres of a vacant, undeveloped area on Pier S at Terminal Island and will help put back into circulation more of the chassis that trucks use to haul cargo containers.

Because many terminals are congested due to the current peak in cargo volume and have no room to accept empty cargo containers, more space is needed to temporarily store those empties. The depot will provide a location for truckers to deliver empty containers and remove them from a chassis and then use the chassis to pick up and haul loaded containers to their destination.

The depot may begin operations as soon as late November according to the port, and will be operated by a private company, Pasha Stevedoring and Terminals, under a permit that expires at the end of March 2015.

“The depot could be ready to start accepting empty containers in two weeks, which would bring some needed relief to our tenants and the entire supply chain,” Port of Long Beach Chief Executive Jon Slangerup said. “This will help correct the chassis supply imbalance.”

The depot is one of several measures the Port of Long Beach is pursuing to relieve the congestion issues that have come with the surge of cargo since the late summer.

In addition to the depot, the port has identified a plan to operate its own chassis fleet for peak cargo shipping seasons and peak demand. Long Beach also facilitated the introduction by private chassis fleets of an additional 3,000 chassis into the local area.

The adjoining Port of Los Angeles, which has also dealt with its share of congestion problems the past few months, announced recently that its executive director, Gene Seroka, and his team have facilitated recent meetings that resulted in a new chassis distribution model to be implemented Feb. 1.