Port of Long Beach (POLB) officials will consider reducing the amount of time import containers can be stored on docks without charge in an effort to increase the speed at which cargo is moved out of the port to consumers, the POLB announced Friday.
With larger vessels now calling on the port on a regular basis, there are more containers residing at terminals, meaning workers are having a harder time delivering containers quickly and efficiently, according to the release.
“When containers stack up in terminals, it leads to extra handling that makes the process slower for longshore workers, the shippers that depend on them, truckers who move the goods, and ultimately the consumer,” said POLB CEO Jon Slangerup in a statement.
Since 2005, containers were allotted four days of “free time” to stay on dock, while beyond that the terminals are charged fees for storage. Port officials are proposing changing the allotted free time to six shifts, or the equivalent of three days, to spur terminals to more consistently operate at night to move imports off the docks more quickly, according to the release.
“This approach will keep the system more fluid and help avoid congestion,” said Slangerup in a statement.
In the coming weeks, port staff will work with all stakeholders to develop a final plan that will be proposed to the Board of Harbor Commissioners, according to the release.
“Truckers have told us their containers are not always accessible because of fewer evening shifts, and terminal operators want to clear space in their yards while giving their customers enough time to get their cargo,” said POLB Chief Commercial Officer Dr. Noel Hacegaba. “Our idea, ‘flexible free time,’ is an innovative use of the tools we have to balance those needs.”
Image courtesy of the POLB.