Harbor leaders will consider Monday three measures that could help give relief to truck drivers, shippers and other supply chain stakeholders feeling the pinch from bottlenecks at the Port of Long Beach.
The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners will decide whether to allow Chief Executive Jon Slangerup to solicit interest from stakeholders who want to team up with the port in a chassis pool that would used during peak hours at the port when congestion is at its worst.
The idea is to augment the chassis fleets that already exist, not compete with them.
According to the staff report, the proposed request for contract proposals for the chassis pool would include about 3,000 chassis, or trailers that hitch onto trucks on which cargo would be towed, and that they would be located on port property.
The port is looking at all opportunity to obtain chassis, including buying new and used trailers and sale-leaseback financing, and is open to either the port or private parties owning them.
If approved, the proposals request could go out next month. The Harbor Commission would then vote on a contract in March and the chassis pool would go into effect in June, according to the staff report.
For several months, the port has been dealing with unprecedented congestion in part because of the lack of available chassis, which happened after carriers decided to divest its interest in chassis to third-party providers. The congestion is being felt throughout the supply chain, from ships anchored at sea to long lines of trucks waiting as many as seven hours to pick up cargo to shipment delays to companies across the country.
The commission will also look at capping dockage fees for ships to four days from Dec. 1 to March 31.
The congestion is taking port operators longer to load and unload cargo ships, stretching the time a ship remains on dock from the typical four days to seven days.
Costs paid to the port goes up after four days, so a tariff amendment would cap costs at four days.
Waiving the dockage fee would cost the port about $588,000, according to the staff report.
Lastly, the commission will vote on a proposed agreement that would permit officials at ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to talk to each other about specific port matters, including congestion, without fear of violating antitrust issues.
Issues to be discussed include port congestion, truck turn times, limited gate hours of operation and the PierPass Traffic Mitigation Fee, which gives shippers a financial incentive to move cargo when it’s less congested.
The idea for the pact came up after some of the issues were raised at a Federal Maritime Commission forum about port congestion Sept. 15 at the Port of Los Angeles.
If approved, a formalized pact that would be submitted to the Federal Maritime Commission for final approval.
The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. in the Harbor Department Interim Administrative Offices, 4801 Airport Plaza Drive, Long Beach. Visit polb.com for more information.
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