L.A, Long Beach ports to take trucks by appointment

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line contributing writer | 8/28/2015

Beginning next year an expanded number of terminals at the Twin Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will implement a system aimed at cutting traffic congestion.

By January 2016, a total of 10 terminals at the Twin Ports will use a truck appointment system for drayage loads.

“The increasing number of containers unloaded by larger new ships has put the traditional random-access system – where any truck can arrive at any time to pick up any container – under strain,” said John Cushing, president of Pierpass, according to a news release. “Appointment systems are part of the growing set of tools terminals are embracing to fight congestion and reduce turn times, alongside innovations including free flow and the OffPeak program of night and Saturday truck gates.”

The 10 terminals agreed to share common rules for the appointment system.

Appointments will be mandatory at all participating terminals.

“At times, appointments have been treated as optional, which has reduced the intended benefit of smoothing out truck traffic flow,” PierPass stated.

The appointment systems will apply to import containers at all terminals. Export dray appointments are being evaluated as a potential future requirement.

All individual terminal appointment systems will be accessible by links from PierPass’ websites.

According to the PierPass news release, West Basin Container Terminal began an updated appointment system for trucks in 2014. “We have seen a marked decline in queuing at our gates and better turn times for our truckers,” Mark Wheeler, vice president and general manager of WBCT in Los Angeles, said according to the release.

Besides WBCT, other terminals with truck appointment systems include APM Terminals, Eagle Marine Services, Seaside Transportation Services, and Total Terminals International.

Beginning in January 2016, truck appointments will begin at Trapac, Long Beach Container Terminal, SSA Terminals in Long Beach, International Transportation Service, and Pacific Maritime Services.

The Port of Los Angeles referred questions about the program to PierPass.

PierPass wants the appointment systems to allow terminals to group specific stacks of containers, thereby cutting the amount of time trucks wait for yard equipment to move containers between stacks. The measure will add a level of predictability for truck drivers and others in the supply chain, they say.

“Coordinating pick-ups and deliveries with the trucking companies will increase productivity for the truckers and for our terminal operations,” said Sean Lindsay, chief operating officer of the international Transportation Service in Long Beach, according to the news release. “Therefore, we will be implementing an appointment system in 2016 to achieve this.”

PierPass is a not-for-profit company created by marine terminal operators at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to address multi-terminal issues like congestion, air quality and security.

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