Truckers Steer Clear of 24-Hour Operations at Southern California Ports

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The terminal alone, with overnight hours, has raised the bar for opening its gates, citing high costs and low use by trucking companies.

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It costs an average of about $10,000 to stay open overnight, said Giles Broome, a spokesman for the terminal, operated by Total Terminals International LLC. Trucking companies that make appointments but don’t show up do not receive any penalties.

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The slow adoption of 24-hour services at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the nation’s busiest port complex, highlights the challenge facing the Biden administration as supply-chain problems continue despite months of government and industry trying to ease congestion. despite the measures. This week, the complex set a record of 86 container ships waiting offshore for a berth, according to the Marine Exchange of Southern California.

Mr Biden said last month that neighboring ports would move to 24-hour operations, in an effort to double the hours that cargo moves from the terminals.

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Today, TTI is the only one of the port complex’s 13 terminals that offer 24-hour operation. The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are public agencies that act as landowners for private terminal operators.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said during a news conference in the Port of Los Angeles on Tuesday that going into 24/7 operations is not “like flipping a switch.”

Inertia has been fingered by various participants in supply chains created to move goods from ports to inland distribution centers and then to retailers and manufacturers across the US.

One trucking company that would like to use 24-hour pickup said TTI’s placement restrictions are so tough that it struggled to qualify for appointments. In order to pick up loaded boxes, TTI requires firms to drop certain types of empty containers as well as certain types of truck trailers, known as chassis, to maintain a balance of terminal equipment. .

“I might have 100 or 200 containers” to return, said Paul Brassier, vice president of Draeze and Intermodal at Reno, Nev.-based ITS Logistics. “But if they’re not the typical Steamship Line box on the specific chassis they need at the specific minimum, you’re out of luck.”

Port of Los Angeles executive director Jean Cerocca said terminal operators are reluctant to go into 24/7 operations because trucks and warehouses don’t operate during those hours.

The Biden administration is encouraging shippers, truck drivers and warehousemen to increase shifts. Port officials said the port operations would resume 24 hours a day after the other links in the supply chain were working all night. “I think it’s going to take time,” said Mario Cordero, executive director of the Port of Long Beach.

The Southern California port complex is a primary focus of the administration’s attention as it handles approximately 40% of the country’s maritime container imports by volume. Terminals there have been overwhelmed by a pandemic-fueled rush by retailers and factories to restore depleted inventory to meet strong consumer demand.

Between January and August this year, the port’s terminals processed the equivalent of 6.9 million loaded containers, a 23% increase from the comparable months of 2019, according to research and consulting firm Beacon Economics.

The cargo boom has closed many links in the supply chain, causing goods shortages and contributing to inflation reaching a 31-year high in October.

Ships arriving from Asia have to wait at sea for days or weeks as berths are occupied, and cannot unload quickly when they reach the docks because the marine terminals are full of boxes. Port trucks cannot lift containers due to a lack of trailers needed to haul boxes, and when they do deliver a box it often sits for longer days than in normal outdoor warehouses due to labor and space constraints. are struggling.

The White House has succeeded with some measures to reduce overcrowding.

Major companies including Walmart Inc.,

aim Corporation

FedEx Corporation

and United Parcel Service Inc.

Committed to making better use of nights and weekends to pick up containers at Southern California ports. Ports said they would start adding charges for containers loaded at sea terminals for nine days or longer from November 1. They have delayed assessing the charges for a few weeks, but by November 8 the number of such containers had fallen. 20% to 101,000.

[email protected] . on Paul Berger

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