By Mark Edward Nero
Terminal operators have added about 50 hours per week this peak season through the Northwest Seaport Alliance’s extended gates program, the Alliance revealed Oct. 3.
The 12-week program was launched in August to reimburse terminal operators up to $2 million to extend gate hours at international container terminals during peak season.
Halfway through the program, about eight percent of total container cargo volumes have come through the terminal gates’ extended hours.
The Alliance, which is a marine cargo operating partnership between the Port of Seattle and Port of Tacoma, said it launched the program to help marine terminal operators avoid congestion on surface streets in the port industrial areas and keep import and export cargo flowing efficiently during peak season, which typically starts in late August and continues through early November.
“We are pleased that the marine terminal operators have been willing to participate in this pilot program,” NWSA Chief Operations Officer Dustin Stoker said. “The goods we import and the agricultural and manufactured products we send elsewhere create valuable jobs for our communities. We want to continue to make it easy for our customers to do business here to benefit everyone.”
Each terminal has participated in the program, offering various extended hour options, including flexed gates from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m., lunch gate hours Monday through Friday, an off-shift gate after 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or Saturday or Sunday shift.
The program, which kicked off the week of Aug. 22, is expected to last up to 12 weeks.