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April 30 2018

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6 The Journal of Commerce | April 30 2018 Spotlight cap PierPass opts for one flat fee Marine terminal operators in Los Angeles-Long Beach have agreed to restructure the 13-year-old PierPass extended gates program, slashing the traffic mitigation fee by 55 percent to $31.52 per TEU ($63.04 per FEU) and including mandatory appointments to spread truck flow out over the day and night shis. The new structure will take effect in August, pending Federal Maritime Commission approval. The members of the West Coast Marine Terminal Operators Association (WCMTOA) decided to shi from a congestion pricing model of charging $72.09 per TEU only on peak daytime moves to a flat fee assessed on all loaded-container day and night moves, in response to complaints from beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) and truckers about the high price of the traffic mitigation fee and truck bunching at certain times of the day. "The original off-peak program was an innovative and highly effective solution to the challenges we faced in 2005, but it was fairly inflexible, whereas an appointment-based model is scalable and can evolve to meet changing industry needs, technology, and practices," said John Cushing, PierPass president. Truckers agreed that the changes are a good first step toward an improved extended gates program at LA-LB — the largest US port complex. "Collectively, we need to insure that we engage in ongoing dialogue and continuously fine- tune the details of our off-peak program," said Weston LaBar of the Harbor Trucking Association. The new structure was developed from a report by consultants Tioga Group and WCL Consulting following interviews with BCOs, truckers, terminal operators, and other port stakeholders. Talks progress on ILA-USMX contract extension The outlook for an East and Gulf Coast labor contract is improving. Negotiators for the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) and United States Maritime Alliance(USMX) have scheduled meetings June 5-7 in hopes of finishing a contract months before the current one expires Sept. 30. The meetings between USMX officials and the ILA's 200-member wage scale committee will follow what the two sides described as "significant progress" during bargaining in March on a six-year extension of their Maine- to-Texas master contract. US beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) are anxious for a deal that spares them the need to activate costly strike contingency plans. In early March, the National Retail Federation and more than 100 other organizations representing BCOs urged the union and employers to act promptly. Shippers have warned that cargo they shifted to ILA ports to avoid West Coast labor turmoil could be shifted back if the ILA-USMX contract extension remains unsettled. The East and Gulf coasts' share of US containerized imports from Asia rose to 34.7 percent last year from less than 22 percent in 2005, according to PIERS, a sister product of The Journal of Commerce within IHS Markit. BCOs are hoping for the kind of assurances the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association provided last year when they signed a five-year West Coast contract extension. Although the ILA has not had a coastwide strike since 1977, it came close to one in 2012-2013, when negotiations dragged on for a year and included two contract extensions. Trade war could dampen strong import forecast The strong retail import growth forecast for this summer at major US ports may be in jeopardy if a developing US-China trade war continues to escalate, the Global Port Tracker report warned. "There is nothing good about a trade war," said Ben Hackett, founder of Hackett Associates, which produces the Global Port Tracker report for the National Retail Federation (NRF). "It is a vicious circle of retaliation where there are no winners, only losers." US-China trade friction is increasing as US ports record strong import volumes. US imports rose 9.6 percent year over year in January to 2 million TEU, and rose 9.4 percent in February to 1.9 million TEU, as US imports As long as the new fee structure is approved by the Federal Maritime Commission, it will be enacted in August. Georgia Ports Authority

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