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Mar.7, 2016

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100 THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE 3PL REPORT: INNOVATIONS IN TECHNOLOGY SPECIAL REPORT MARCH 7.2016 PEELING OFF TURN TIMES Trucking efficiency improves at LA-Long Beach terminals employing free-flow or dray-off programs, but the real benefits will come with automation MARINE TERMINALS IN Los Angeles-Long Beach that have collaborated with cargo interests and truckers on creative pro- grams such as dray-offs and free-flow of containers recorded the best turnaround times among gates in January, according to the Harbor Trucking Association. But even those gains weren't able to speed overall truck turn times much at the nation's two largest ports. Each month, the HTA collects turn- time data from hundreds of trucks equipped with GPS devices as part of its ongoing truck mobility project. The association reports turn-time data for the 13 container terminals in the harbor. Time is measured from when the truck arrives in the queue outside the gate until the truck leaves through the exit gate. Overall turn times appear to be in a rut. The average truck visit in January lasted 91 minutes, and average visit times have ranged from 88 to 91 minutes since April 2015. That's when the ports were returning to normal following the con- gestion that accompanied the coastwide longshore contract negotiations of 2014-15. Although average turn times have been stuck in the 90-minute range, some terminals in the largest U.S. port complex have noticeably better turn times, while others have much longer turn times than the average. Weston LaBar, the HTA's executive director, said it's becoming apparent that those terminals that work closely with cargo interests and truckers to speed trucks through their facilities outperform the others. "The terminals with the best turn times are the ones that have a lot of dialogue with the truckers, rather than trying to do it alone," he said. SSA Marine operates three terminals in Long Beach — Matson, Pacific Con- tainer Terminal and Pier A. The average truck-visit time at those terminals is much shorter than at most of the other terminals at Los Angeles-Long Beach. SSA for the past decade has been draying imported containers from the terminals to a near-dock yard it operates as soon as the containers are discharged from the vessels. Chief Operating Officer Ed DeNike said SSA works with truckers and cargo interests in a number of areas, but dray-offs are 95 percent of the reason its turn times are shorter than those at most terminals. The average turn time at the terminal SSA operates with Matson was 33 min- utes, by far the best in the harbor. Matson is a special case because it's a single-user terminal served by smaller ships in a closed-loop arrangement. However, PCT, with an average turn time of 72 minutes, and Pier A, at 62 minutes, are the same as other terminals in the harbor. They are served by mega-ships carrying the containers of multiple lines operating in vessel-sharing alliances. Because the operations at PCT and Pier A are as complex as those at other terminals, it appears that draying inbound containers immediately upon discharge to a near-dock site, without regard to destination or consignee, is driving cargo velocity at the terminals. This operation is much different than at more traditional terminals where truck drivers arrive at the facilities to pick up specific containers, which seem invariably to be located at the bottom of a stack of containers. "When you have to pick and choose from a pile, you will have problems," said Mike DiBernardo, deputy executive director of marketing and customer rela- tions at the Port of Los Angeles. Similarly, another program initiated last year known as free-flow, or peel-off, is beginning to produce results. Free- f low is somewhat more complex than dray-offs because multiple importers must work closely with the trucking company and terminal operator to gener- ate a critical mass of inbound containers. The program began when West Basin Container Terminal in Los Angeles worked with TTSI to recruit the truck- ing company's beneficial cargo owners to participate. When the containers of participating BCOs are discharged from the vessel, they are segregated in a pile. The BCOs and the trucking company By Bill Mongelluzzo "THE TERMINALS WITH THE BEST TURN TIMES ARE THE ONES THAT HAVE A LOT OF DIALOGUE WITH THE TRUCKERS, RATHER THAN TRYING TO DO IT ALONE."

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