Backups at the ports have frustrated the owner-operators who pick up and deliver to the terminals, because they are paid by the load and excessive waiting time cuts their income. Port officials are also concerned that growing port congestion could drive shippers to other modes of transportation.
The West Coast Waterfront Coalition was formed last December and is made up of retailers, importers, carriers and trade organizations. At its first full membership meeting in Washington, D.C., members decided to focus their initial efforts on a pilot program to test extended gate hours, reports the Journal of Commerce. This was one of several proposals the group considered.
A committee made up of representatives from shippers, shipping lines, terminal operators, harbor trucking and organized labor will decide whether to go ahead with a pilot program. Such a pilot project would mean importers and exporters operating warehouses during off hours, along with terminal operators and trucking companies.
Joseph Wenzi, an International Longshore and Warehouse Union coast committee member, told the JOC the union supports the idea. He noted that operating terminals during off hours would allow truck drivers to get more turns per shift, because terminal gates and local freeways would be less congested.
The coalition intends to meet quarterly.