The Port of Long Beach will launch a pilot program at the port’s largest terminal to expand access and speed up deliveries amid the current surge in cargo.
The new pilot program at Total Terminals International’s container terminal at Pier T will facilitate truck access to the facility during overnight hours and allow for 24-hour cargo pickup.
The program is intended to reduce “dwell” time – the time cargo spends waiting to be picked up at the dock – at the port’s largest terminal. The Port of Long Beach said it expects the measure to increase cargo pickup late at night and early in the morning, when there is less traffic on the region’s highways and streets.
Under the pilot program, truckers with appointments between 11 p.m. and 1:30 a.m. will be able to access the TTI terminal when they arrive, extending the window that is typically available. TTI will also open the doors during the third shift, from 3 a.m. to 7 a.m., Monday through Thursday, to allow trucks with appointments to drop off and pick up containers on the same trip. Known as “double transactions,” this practice pairs the transport of an empty container transported by truck for export with a loaded container for import, thereby increasing efficiency. Visits will be arranged in advance, with chassis teams drawn from the region’s “pool” to ensure that everything goes smoothly.
The announcement of the pilot program comes after the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, which are neighbors in the San Pedro Bay port complex, announced steps toward 24/7 operations last week in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Transportation.
“We are in the midst of a historic surge in cargo, and our terminal operators and other supply chain partners are pulling out all the stops to keep everything moving,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. “We welcome this TTI pilot project as a first step toward expanding the gates to 24/7 operations, and we encourage our cargo owners and transportation partners to give this innovative program a try.”
“This is an ideal time to put these new measures in place as we work across the supply chain to find solutions to the current capacity shortage,” said Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners Chairman Steven Neal. “Our supply chain workforce is to be commended for working tirelessly throughout this surge to keep record amounts of cargo moving.”
The new TTI truck access pilot program, which will be evaluated periodically and adjusted as needed, was developed with the intention of reducing terminal dwell time and increasing driver productivity. To evaluate the effectiveness of the program, the terminal will monitor gate utilization, import container dwell time and truck driver productivity.
“If we can increase the utilization of our night gates, we can better serve the supply chain and help speed cargo to market,” said Bill Peratt, TTI’s chief executive officer. “By making it more convenient for truckers, we are optimistic that these steps can reduce dwell time at our terminal.”
As we have been reporting, the number of vessels waiting in and out of the congested ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles has reached records in recent weeks as containerized imports continue to arrive at U.S. ports ahead of the vacation season, driving record volumes at ports coast-to-coast.