Traffic-fee hike postponed at CA ports

The planned adjustment to the Traffic Mitigation Fee (TMF) at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, CA will be postponed until August 1, according to the West Coast MTO Agreement

The planned adjustment to the Traffic Mitigation Fee (TMF) at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, CA will be postponed until August 1, according to the West Coast MTO Agreement (WCMTOA). The schedule change came in response to feedback from customers and other partners in the goods movement industry and is intended to provide more time for cargo owners to prepare for the increase. The TMF adjustment was originally planned to take effect on July 4.

On August 1, 2011, the TMF will increase to $60 per TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) or $120 per FEU (forty-foot equivalent unit), from $50 per TEU currently. This is the first increase in the TMF since 2006, noted the WCMTOA. Since then, hourly labor costs have increased 31%.

“By reducing operating losses for the PierPass OffPeak program, the TMF adjustment will enable terminal operators to continue operating the extra shifts that reduce congestion and air pollution in and around the ports,” said Bruce Wargo, president of PierPass, the non-profit formed by WCMTOA in 2005 that runs the OffPeak program. “I want to thank the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach for their continued support of the PierPass OffPeak program and for working with their terminal operator tenants to maintain the position of the ports as the nation’s premier cargo gateway.”

The terminals have operated the OffPeak gates at a loss since the program’s start in 2005. The shortfall between TMF revenues and OffPeak gate costs was $52.3 million in 2010.

Before PierPass was created in 2005, the ports and nearby roads were gridlocked, ships were backed up in the harbor unable to unload, and cargo owners suffered long delays in receiving and shipping vital goods,” Wargo said. “Over the past six years, PierPass OffPeak gates have grown to handle approximately 55 percent of all container traffic at the ports, accommodated close to 20 million truck transactions, and greatly eased congestion on city streets and nearby freeways during daytime business hours. The TMF helps fund the nighttime and Saturday gates that make these benefits possible.”

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