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Congestion Mitigation: Long Beach, Metro Vancouver

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The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners has directed Port of Long Beach staff to develop plans for purchasing and providing thousands of truck chassis for congestion relief during peak periods.Port Metro Vancouver will begin a last round of consultation to finalize details of its new Truck Licensing System, a part of the Joint Action Plan announced by the federal and provincial governments in March 2014.

Long Beach Harbor Commission Directs Port Staff to Increase Peak Chassis Supply

The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners, at its October 13 weekly meeting, directed Port of Long Beach staff to develop plans for purchasing and providing thousands of truck chassis for congestion relief during peak periods.

"We’ve been facilitating discussions about chassis issues for some time," said Port Chief Executive Jon Slangerup. "Working with the Harbor Commission’s port efficiency subcommittee, we determined that the root cause of the current congestion crisis is the lack of chassis to support peak-level volumes – and no one else was stepping up to address this critical problem."

The harbor commission has established a subcommittee chaired by Commission Vice President Rich Dines, working with Commissioner Lori Ann Farrell, to focus on port efficiency.

At the October 13 meeting, port staff was directed by the full harbor commission at the urging of Mr. Slangerup to come up with a proposal within 30 days to obtain additional chassis. If needed, the port would prepare to establish an organization to purchase, service and manage a pool of supplemental chassis to provide relief whenever there is a shortage of privately owned chassis.

One issue identified by the subcommittee and port staff is a mismatch between supply and demand. Some privately operated terminals have an adequate supply of chassis while others are critically short. This imbalance is said to be causing severe congestion at some terminals, particularly during peak shipping periods.

"This current peak congestion crisis is something that was avoidable," said Mr. Slangerup, "and we are taking the necessary steps to prevent any such problems from happening again."

Port Metro Vancouver to Launch Truck Licensing System

Port Metro Vancouver will begin a last round of consultation to finalize details of its new Truck Licensing System. The new policy, expected to be finalized by late November, is one of the many changes to the sector as a part of the Joint Action Plan announced by the federal and provincial governments in March 2014.

The goal is to balance the number of registered trucks with the amount of available work and bring stability to port operations.

"The current licensing system is not responsive to the normal fluctuations of supply and demand in the marketplace," explained Peter Xotta, vice president, planning and operations for Port Metro Vancouver. "There are too many trucks registered for the work that is required, which has caused intense competition between trucking companies, not enough work for many truckers and reports of the undercutting of agreed rates."

The Truck Licensing System, also called TLS, licenses container trucking companies that serve the port. The registered trucks under each license transport marine containers, which hold import and export goods, to and from the port to warehouses, distribution centers and retailers off port property.

A report released jointly by the federal and provincial governments noted an understanding among stakeholders of the need for change to the licensing system.

Detailed analysis has been done based on GPS data available from all 2,000 trucks currently registered to serve the port. Preliminary findings indicate that there are more trucks registered than required in this market.

Final details of the new system are subject to another round of consultation with container trucking stakeholders. When the final TLS policy is announced later this year, all current license holders will have the opportunity to seek participation in the new system. Among the details will be a program to ease the transition by assisting owner-operators of trucks who do not meet the requirements for entry under the new policy.

The port authority expects the new TLS will become effective in February 2015.

 

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