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Long Beach Port Pilots Overnight Truck Access

The Total Terminals International container terminal on Pier T in the Port of Long Beach is making it easier for trucks to access the facility during the overnight hours in a new pilot program to widen access and speed deliveries amid the ongoing cargo surge.

The pilot program at the port’s largest terminal focuses on the effort to reduce “dwell”–the amount of time cargo spends waiting for pickup on the dock. The pilot project meshes with the recently announced joint effort with the neighboring Port of Los Angeles and the U.S. Department of Transportation to extend terminal hours to improve freight movement and reduce delays at the San Pedro Bay port complex.

The terminal is taking two significant steps to increase cargo pickup in the late night, early morning hours, when there is less traffic on the region’s freeways and surface streets. As part of the pilot, truckers will find they are never too early or too late for their appointments from 11 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. at the TTI Terminal. For truckers with appointments during this period, the terminal will allow access whenever they arrive during that time. This widens the window typically available, port officials noted.

In addition, TTI is opening gates during the third shift, from 3 a.m.-7 a.m., Monday to Thursday, for two-way, prearranged truck appointments to drop off and pick up containers in the same trip. Known as “dual transactions,” the practice pairs transport of a truck-hauled empty container for export with a loaded import container, for maximum efficiency. Visits are arranged in advance, with chassis equipment drawn from the region’s “pool” for smooth operations.

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“We are in the midst of an historic surge in cargo, and our terminal operators and other supply chain partners are giving their all to keep it all moving,” Port of Long Beach executive director Mario Cordero said. “We welcome this pilot project by TTI as a first step toward extending gates to 24/7 operations, and we encourage our cargo owners and trucking partners to give this innovative program a try.”

Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners president Steven Neal said this is an ideal time to start these new measures “as we work across the supply chain to find solutions to the current capacity crunch.”

“Our supply chain workforce is to be commended for toiling tirelessly throughout this surge to keep record amounts of cargo moving,” Neal said.

The new TTI truck access pilot program was developed with the intent to drive down on-terminal dwell and increase driver productivity. The pilot program will be evaluated periodically by the terminal and adjusted as necessary. To assess the program’s effectiveness, the terminal will monitor gate utilization, dwell time of import containers, and truck driver productivity.

“If we can increase utilization of our late night gates, we can better serve the supply chain and help speed cargo to market,” TTI CEO Bill Peratt said. “By making it more convenient for truckers, we are optimistic that these steps can reduce the dwell time at our terminal.”