The Port of Long Beach is partnering with its terminal operators on an initiative to ensure that at least half of all trucker visits to the port’s six container terminals involve dual transactions as the port looks to reduce congestion amid record container volumes.
“The more dual transactions we can process, the more the entire supply chain wins,” Noel Hacegaba, Long Beach’s deputy executive director and COO, told JOC.com Friday.
Long Beach and neighboring Los Angeles in recent weeks have announced initiatives such as establishing near-dock container storage yards and stop/start sites for chassis in order to reduce congestion in the largest US port complex. Both ports said they are processing container volumes that in October were the highest ever in their more than 100-year histories.
Weston LaBar, CEO of the Harbor Trucking Association, said increasing the number of dual transactions — pairing the delivery of an export load or empty container return with receipt of an inbound load — should result in an immediate and significant reduction in port congestion. Only about 20 percent of all truck visits in Los Angeles-Long Beach at present involve dual transactions, he said.
Increasing dual transactions through the use of trucker appointment systems, which all 12 of the container terminals in Los Angeles-Long Beach offer, is the most direct approach to ensuring that truckers can consistently secure appointments for the return of empty containers, LaBar said. Truckers’ difficulties in returning empties is the root cause of many of the congestion issues and equipment shortages in the harbor, he said.
Hacegaba said each of the terminal operators in Long Beach has committed to increase dual transactions by using its terminal operating system (TOS) to share the information truckers need to match the delivery of their export loads or empty container returns with inbound loads.
“All of the terminals have that capability, or are making the necessary enhancements for that ability,” he said. Long Beach Container Terminal, for example, uses an Application Programming Interface (API), while the other terminals are interfacing with truckers through the Advent/e-Modal platform, Hacegaba said.
LaBar urged the terminals to include truckers in their efforts to ensure the programs address truckers’ needs as well as the needs of the terminals. “Our hope is to remain part of the discussion so there are no unintended consequences,” he said.