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LA-LB terminals agree to shift to lower trucker pick-up fees

2018-4-23

MARINE terminal operators at Los Angeles-Long Beach (LA-LB) have agreed to revamp the 13-year old c extended-gate programme by reducing the traffic mitigation fee by 55 per cent to US$31.52 per TEU but include mandatory appointments to spread truck flow over day and night shifts.


The new structure will be launched in August provided the plan gets the green light from the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC).


Members of the West Coast Marine Terminal Operators Association (WCMTOA) decided to shift from a congestion pricing model of charging $72.09 per TEU on peak daytime moves, to a flat fee on all loaded-container day and night moves following complaints from beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) and truckers about the price of the traffic mitigation fee and truck bunching.


"The original OffPeak programme was an innovative and highly effective solution to the challenges we faced in 2005, but it was fairly inflexible, whereas an appointment-based model is scalable and can evolve to meet changing industry needs, technology and practices," said PierPass president John Cushing.


Truckers agree that the changes are a good first step towards an improved extended-gate programme. "Collectively we need to ensure that we engage in ongoing dialogue and continuously fine-tune the details of our off-peak programme," said Harbor Trucking Association's Weston LaBar.


WCMTOA members established an extended-gate programme to incentivise BCOs to move more of their cargo during night and weekend shifts. BCOs who patronised the 6pm to 3am weekday shift and weekend shift were exempt from the fee.


The current fee on peak traffic of $144.14 per FEU container does not sit well with small- and mid-size shippers as many of them cannot afford the additional costs of keeping their warehouses open for a second shift to avoid the fee.


Coupling the flat fee with mandatory trucker appointments will also help to smooth traffic flow throughout the day and it should assist truckers in achieving more dual transactions (delivering an export load or empty container and picking up an import load in the same trip).


Mr Cushing noted that nine of the 12 terminals in Los Angeles-Long Beach port already have appointments and the three remaining terminals are expected to initiate trucker appointments by August.


 
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