Los Angeles, Long Beach port terminals to open during off-peak hours

| 8/25/2004

Terminals at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which together make up the largest port complex in the United States, are extending their hours to move more freight – and the trucks that carry it – through the port during evening and weekend hours, according to a marine terminal trade association.

The plan, which was proposed in cooperation with state officials, is designed to reduce traffic during peak hours and to reduce pollution. It is scheduled to go into effect Nov. 1.

As part of the plan, the participating terminals will charge a “Traffic Mitigation Fee” on all containers, which will be paid by the owners of the cargo before the container passes through the marine terminal operator’s gates.

Officials plan to charge $20 per “twenty-foot equivalent.” Every container moving through the port is either 20 feet or 40 feet long. The fee will be used to pay for the program, which officials estimate will cost $150 million a year.

The plan will be operated by a new organization called PierPass, which will collect and distribute the fees. It will also adjust the fee amount as needed once it determines the actual costs of the program.

Tupper Hall, a spokesman for the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association – which represents ocean carriers and marine terminals on West Coast and is helping publicize the new hours – said that details of the expanded hours are still being worked out.

However, initially, marine terminals at Los Angeles and Long Beach are likely to add one eight-hour shift on Saturdays. Each month, one more eight-hour shift will be added, Hall said, and each shift will offer the same services that are available on a typical daytime weekday shift.

New shifts will be added as long as the terminal operators are able to find enough trained workers to man them.

The Pacific Merchant Shipping Association is helping the terminals publicize the changes; however, Hall said the organization has no organizing role in setting the new hours or what services will be available at those times.

At this point, 12 terminal operators have agreed to take part in the program. They are:

  • APM Terminals;
  • California United Terminals Inc.;
  • Eagle Marine Services Ltd.;
  • Husky Terminals Inc.;
  • International Transportation Service Inc.;
  • Long Beach Container Terminal Inc.;
  • Marine Terminal Corp.;
  • Pasha Stevedoring & Terminals LP;
  • SSA Marine;
  • Trans Bay Container Terminal Inc.;
  • Trans Pacific Container Service Corp.; and
  • Yusen Terminals Inc.

– by Mark H. Reddig, associate editor