A system designed to reduce congestion at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach has diverted 30m trucks away from peak traffic over the past nine years.
The ‘OffPeak’ system was launched in July 2005, after a congestion crisis in 2004, to ease traffic on city streets and reduce emissions from trucks waiting outside of terminals.
Under the programme, the ports operate additional shifts over night and on Saturdays that now account for around 17,000 trucks on an average weeknight, 55% of the ports’ daily truck-borne container traffic.
The system is operated by PierPass, a not-for-profit group launched by terminal operators, who claim that it has doubled the capacity of the ports.
However, in a statement, the group said: “Substantial unused capacity remains available at the ports within the current hours of operation. A large proportion of the trucks serving the ports work only a single shift, spanning the second half of the day shift and the first half of the night shift. Lines are typically short or non-existent during mornings and after 11pm.”
Despite efforts by PierPass, the average in-terminal turn-around time increased by 8% year-on-year in the first six months of 2014 to 42 minutes, in addition to an average 20 minute wait outside the terminal.
PierPass cites several reasons for this: larger ships calling at the ports; chassis being in short supply since shipping lines began transferring ownership to leasing companies, and railways being late providing locomotives and railcars.
CEO Bruce Wargo said: “While port congestion has increased worldwide, the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are handling these pressures better than most of the other major ports in North America and Europe.”