By Mark Edward Nero
The Northwest Seaport Alliance, a marine cargo operating partnership of the ports of Seattle and Tacoma, said Aug. 15 that it is launching a program that will reimburse terminal operators up to $2 million total to extend gate hours at its international container terminals during peak season.
The program recompenses terminal operators for some of the costs to operate flexed gates from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. and lunch gate hours Monday through Friday during peak season. It also provides one off-shift gate per week. Off-shift gates are after 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or any shift on Saturday or Sunday.
With cargo owners forecasting a three to five percent increase in volume during peak season, which starts in late summer and continues through early fall, the Seaport Alliance says it intends to help the marine terminal operators avoid congestion on surface streets in the port industrial area and keep import and export cargo flowing efficiently.
“We applaud the NWSA efforts in working on turn times and congestion to keep both the seaport and the shippers in the Northwest viable,” said Laura Daniels, ocean shipping coordinator for Anderson Hay & Grain Co.
“Longer gate hours would help, as well as alternating labor to work through breaks and lunch time,” Mary Anne Levine, global logistics & customer relations for Calaway Trading, said.
“I welcome the ports’ recommendation to open late gates, which will provide some needed relief from congestion,” said Richard Perket, senior director of global logistics for Christopher & Banks Corp. “It is critical to my business that we keep these marketed goods on time to marry up with marketing and promotions that have been planned for months.”
The program kicks off the week of Aug. 22 and is expected to last up to 12 weeks.