Photo: PierPass

Photo: PierPass

Several terminals operating at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have agreed on an initiative to establish appointment systems for trucks delivering containers to and from the ports.

Ten PierPass-member container terminals have adopted an appointment system action plan committed to a set of common requirements:

  • Appointments will be mandatory at all participating terminals.
  • The appointment systems will apply to import containers at all terminals with appointments for exports being evaluated as a potential future requirement.
  • All individual terminal appointment systems will be accessible through links on PierPass websites.

The five terminals which currently operate appointment systems have also agreed to adopt these requirements and five more terminals plan to introduce the system by 2016 using the same guidelines.

“The increasing number of containers unloaded by larger new ships has put the traditional random-access system – where any truck can arrive at any time to pick up any container – under strain,” said John Cushing, president of PierPass. “Appointment systems are part of the growing set of tools terminals are embracing to fight congestion and reduce turn times.”

For trucking companies, drivers and cargo owners, the appointment system is designed to add predictability to the supply chain. Terminal operators expect that queue lengths at different times of the day will be flattened out which should reduce truck turn times.

Appointment systems also allow terminals to group appointments for specific stacks of containers which can reduce waiting time for container-moving yard equipment to move between stacks.

“Coordinating pick-ups and deliveries with the trucking companies will increase productivity for the truckers and for our terminal operations,” said Sean Lindsay, chief operating officer of International Transportation Service terminal in Long Beach. “Therefore, we will be implementing an appointment system in 2016 to achieve this.”

PierPass is a not-for-profit company created by marine terminal operators at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in 2005 to address multi-terminal issues such as congestion, security and air quality.