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Facing the unprecedented shipping crisis, the ports of Los Angeles and long beach announced on Friday that they intend to extend the operation time of truck gates to ease the backlog of containers and ease the congestion of the supply chain. Long Beach port is piloting to allow pickup trucks to pick up and return containers at night, and Los Angeles port is also coordinating all parties to test run a gate (open on weekends) program called "Los Angeles freight acceleration". However, these messages did not specify how to implement the delayed opening plan of the gate, nor did they indicate who would bear the cost. The direct impact of these measures on the peak congestion of the peak season port may also be limited, but logistics officials believe that this plan is a positive step.
Terminals in Southern California have participated in a program called pier pass, which is voluntary and aims to extend the opening hours of gates at night and on weekends. The funds come from the fees for trucks entering and leaving the port. The plan encourages truck companies to work in shifts to prevent them from piling up and entering the port, resulting in transportation bottlenecks.
Noel hacegaba, deputy director of the Long Beach Port Authority, told shippers in the United States that the new measure requires the gate to be opened from 2 a.m. to 7 a.m., thus creating a new era of all-weather port operation. Officials also hope that the concept of all-day operation can take root in the hearts of shippers and truck drivers。HacegabaSay，Long Beach port authority is negotiating with a maritime terminal operator to discuss 24-hour operation and hopes to expand the operation scale over time. Hacegaba explained: "given the current freight volume, each link of the supply chain needs to maximize the operation time. Long Beach port is moving towards an all-weather supply chain. The goal of our pilot plan is to open the gate all night and drive the warehouse and truck companies to operate all night." the Southern California twin ports plan to provide details on the operation and cost of the new plan early next week.
Many Asian ports operate around the clock with high efficiency. Although this 24-hour operation is widely discussed, it has not become popular in the United States. Many U.S. ports will temporarily work overtime at night and on weekends during cargo surge to clean up container yards or serve ships irregularly, but few stakeholders are willing to pay for permanent off peak overtime.
Craig grossgart, senior vice president of marine transportation of Seko logistics company, said: "about 35% of the (pick-up) appointments failed to be fulfilled because truck drivers were unwilling to pull goods at night because the distribution center did not open." another (to alleviate port congestion) method is to first pull the containers to another safe yard and stack them on a chassis (and then transport them away), But this is more expensive because it needs to be transported twice by truck and an additional chassis rental.
The freight forwarders pointed out that the delayed gate opening plan was useless unless the warehouse was opened at the same time to allow truck drivers to deliver goods, but they still appreciated the efforts to make changes. Peter Friedmann, executive director of the agricultural transport alliance, said: "at least someone is still trying to change. Other suppliers say they can't do anything. For example, terminal operators say they can't do anything because the warehouse won't open 24 hours. The warehouse says they can't open 24 hours because truck drivers are unwilling to pull goods."
FriedmannHe said that the wharf often extends the opening time of the gate at night without much notice, and the truck driver has no legal plan. With a predictable and regular (delayed opening) schedule, truck drivers and warehouses can plan operation time. The pier pass plan didn't work either. The money was collected, but the wharf was only opened sporadically. Peter Friedmann, a long-standing critic of the traffic relief plan, has been crying out and urging the U.S. government to take action to stop (some companies) from providing Marine Containers inland and prohibit the terminal from charging container demurrage in case of yard congestion.
According to BIMCO statistics, as of July, the number of containers imported by the United States from Asia increased by 33% year-on-year and 26% compared with 2019. The twin ports in Southern California handle more than 30% of the seaborne imports of the United States, and are the two largest container ports in the United States. Long Beach port has broken the monthly throughput record in 13 of the past 14 months. The surge in the number of (imported) containers, combined with the restrictions on the operation of dock workers caused by the epidemic, as well as the lack of truck, railway and storage capacity, led to serious congestion in all facilities. On Thursday, 65 container ships lined up outside the twin ports in Southern California for berthing and unloading. It takes more than 9 days to retrieve the containers from the terminal and more than 8 days to find the warehouse for stacking the containers on the road.
Port congestion has attracted the attention of the Biden government. The U.S. government has established a working group on supply chain issues to involve stakeholders to solve the supply chain bottleneck from the port to the whole inland distribution system. Both ports are working with the government's port envoy John Porcari and the working group to correct the systematic inefficiency of the maritime link. John Porcari supports the port's actions and looks forward to "continuing to work with all stakeholders to enhance the flexibility of the supply chain".
The port authorities hinted that it might go further in the future. Gene serok, the executive director of the port of Los Angeles, stated: "the port of Los Angeles will continue to innovate methods to deal with this historic surge of goods." the port authorities said that they will vigorously publicize the delayed opening plan of the gate during off peak hours to shippers and work closely with truck transportation companies to ensure that drivers know how to operate during off peak hours; They also called on terminal operators to carry out more night operations as planned to reduce congestion and increase cargo throughput as much as possible.
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Source: Port circle