PierPass said Thursday that its OffPeak program at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which since July 2005 has provided incentives for drivers to pick-up and deliver containers at night rather than during the day, has reached a milestone, diverting its 30 millionth truck trip from weekday daytime traffic.
“OffPeak has greatly eased congestion on city streets and nearby freeways, and reduced emissions from trucks idling outside of terminals and in traffic,” said a press release from PierPass, a non-profit organization that was created by the terminals in the two Southern California ports.
Bruce Wargo, the president and chief executive of PierPass, 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.”
PierPass said “average in-terminal turn time — the amount of time it takes a truck to drop off or pick up a single container — in the first half of 2014 was 42 minutes, up 7.7 percent from the first half of 2013. Adding the average 20 minutes in queue outside the terminals, the typical single transaction takes about one hour.
“On an average OffPeak weeknight, 17,000 trucks visit the marine container terminals at the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach. If all of these trucks were lined up bumper-to-bumper, they would form a line 170 miles long, half the distance from Los Angeles to San Jose. Without the OffPeak program, this cargo would be crammed into a single day shift, more than doubling daytime volumes and causing major congestion,” PierPass said.
The 13 container terminals at the two adjacent ports operate additional shifts on nights and Saturdays that handle about 55 percent of container traffic moving by truck.
As an incentive to use the new OffPeak shifts and to cover the added cost of operating additional shifts, a traffic mitigation fee is required for most cargo movement during peak hours, which is Monday through Friday, 3 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Last August the fee was increased by $5 per TEU to $66.50 per TEU.)
PierPass said the OffPeak program has nearly doubled capacity at the two ports, and added that substantial unused capacity remains available.
“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 11:00 p.m,” PierPass said.