San Pedro Bay Ports to Speed Cargo Throughput

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
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The ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles in California are expanding night and weekend hours to boost throughput and reduce delays as record cargo volumes move through the San Pedro Bay.

The move follows consultation with multiple supply chain stakeholders and the U.S. Department of Transportation, the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles reported late last month.

Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero said that Long Beach “will take the first step towards a 24/7 supply chain by maximizing nighttime operations.” Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said that the Port of Los Angeles will expand weekend operating gate hours.

Dubbed “Accelerate Cargo LA,” the Port of Los Angeles’ program is slated to operate on a pilot basis to “ensure that gate availability meets cargo demands and provides greater transparency to improve efficiency. In addition, both ports have called on marine terminal operators to incentivize the use of all available gate hours, especially night gates, to reduce congestion and maximize cargo throughput capacity.”

(In a reply to Surface Transportation Board (STB) Chairman Marty Oberman, who requested that Class I railroads provide information on the extent of congestion at key U.S. container terminals and on their railroads’ policies and practices for assessing container demurrage fees, BNSF President and CEO Katie Farmer reported that everyone across logistics chains should operate on a 24/7 intermodal service basis, just like BNSF does and the other six Class I’s. Too many players—like some ports and other terminals—have too many shut-down business hours. For more, see Railway Age Contributing Editor Jim Blaze’s August report, “Why STB’s Inquiry Is a Public Service to Intermodal Shippers.”)

The ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles reported that they will work closely with the trucking community to “ensure that all truck operators understand how to take advantage of incentivized gate hours as well as the expanded opportunities that will be created to move cargo during non-peak times. In addition to expanded hours and incentivized reservation priority, the ports urge terminals and the trucking community to consider other corrective measures.”

John D. Porcari

“I thank Directors Cordero and Seroka for their leadership and all of the men and women who have helped meet the challenge of moving extraordinary cargo volumes during a global pandemic,” said John Porcari, the Ports Envoy to the Biden-Harris Administration’s Task Force on Supply Chain Disruptions. “I look forward to continuing to work with all stakeholders to strengthen the resiliency of our transportation supply chain.”

The San Pedro Bay ports move approximately 40% of all containerized cargo entering the U.S. each year and about 30% of all containerized exports. They said they are “working closely with the White House Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force to alleviate bottlenecks and speed up the movement of goods to consumers, while expanding export opportunities for U.S. exporters, including agricultural producers.”

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