The Port of Virginia has announced the formation of the Motor Carrier Task Force to focus on issues at the state-controlled marine terminals that are affecting the ability of truck drivers to efficiently move cargo in and out of the terminals.

Continued volume growth that has put pressure on the motor carriers is driving the need for the task force, said John F. Reinhart, the port's CEO and executive director. The effort will be focused on safety, reducing turn times, cutting wait-time at the gates, chassis availability and a spreading the arrival times for trucks throughout the day.

"As The Port of Virginia, we must commit to ensure that our freight arrives and departs safely and as efficiently as possible," Reinhart said. "We don't have all the answers, but together it is our belief that we can develop some real solutions. As a group we will develop and implement needed improvements and have an ongoing commitment to service levels."

For many years the port says it has enlisted the input from the motor carriers via the monthly Port Advisory Conference meetings, but the issues of today require a greater-level of problem solving, said Joseph P. Ruddy, the port's chief operating officer and man who will be leading the task force.

One of the first issues the task force will address is the implementation of an appointment system for motor carriers that even-out the flow of traffic at the terminals throughout the day and eliminate a "rush hour" effect, Ruddy said.

Participants in the Motor Carrier Task Force include representatives from the motor carriers, service providers, the International Longshoremen's Association, ocean carriers, shippers and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Service.