California Ports to Extend Truck Hours

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are expected to implement a program designed to ease truck congestion and air pollution from idling by adding in nights and weekends to port operating hours. The first extended shifts will be added in November 1.

Initially, new shifts will be added on Saturdays, with an additional shift phased in every month for six months. By extending the operating hours, port officials aim to spread out the estimated 35,000 daily truck trips in and out of the ports of Long Beach alone. With cargo volumes expected to double by 2010

Currently, about 17% of the ports’ cargo moves during off-peak hours, the Associated Press reported.

To fund the labor during extended shifts, the ports will leverage $20 and $40 fees— depending on the size of the container— on containers moved between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. This is estimated to add revenues of $150 million annually.

The ports plan to phase out the fees after three years, assuming the volume of cargo during off-peak hours gains enough traffic to support itself.

The program was developed to help alleviate truck congestion on Interstate 710 and roads in the Los Angeles area, according to the office of state assemblyman (D) Alan Lowenthal.

“This program represents a massive shift in the way terminals will operate in Southern California,” said Glen Eddy, senior vp of AMP Terminals Pacific Ltd.

So far a handful of shippers have expressed support for the measure, including Target Corp., Toyota and MegaToys.

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