Photo: Wikipedia Commons.

Photo: Wikipedia Commons.

PierPass announced that its OffPeak program reached a major milestone, diverting its 30 millionth truck trip at the California Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

The diversions occurred in weekday, daytime traffic as part of the OffPeak program, which regulates the amount of trucks allowed on the road from the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach every week during peak traffic hours.

Under the OffPeak program, the international container terminals at the two ports operate additional shifts on nights and Saturdays. Since its in inception in 2005, OffPeak gates have grown to handle about 55% of daily truck-borne container traffic.

PierPass says the OffPeak program has greatly eased congestion on city streets and nearby freeways and reduced emissions for trucks idling outside of terminals and in traffic.

“While port congestion has increased worldwide, the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are handling these pressures better than most of the other major ports in North America and Europe,” said Bruce Wargo, PierPass president and CEO. “One reason LA and Long Beach works is because the PierPass OffPeak program nearly doubled the capacity of the ports in 2005.”

Recent problems experienced by other large North American and European ports over the past year have been due to new, larger ships that carry over 50% more cargo than ships from a few years ago. Terminals have been forced to manage the higher volume of cargo despite problems handling it with trucks and locomotives.

The average in-terminal turn time – the amount of time it takes a truck to drop off or pick up a single container – in the first half of 2014 was 42 minutes, up 7.7% from the first half of 2013. The typical, single transaction takes about one hour when adding the average of 20 minutes in queue outside the terminals.

On a typical OffPeak weeknight, 17,000 trucks visit the marine container terminals at the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach. PierPass says that if all of these trucks were lined up bumper--to-bumper, they would form a line 170 miles long.