• ITVI.USA
    15,285.540
    -94.080
    -0.6%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.776
    -0.010
    -0.4%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.450
    -0.050
    -0.2%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,256.620
    -93.130
    -0.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    3.300
    -0.240
    -6.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.950
    -0.020
    -0.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.440
    0.000
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.310
    0.060
    1.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.150
    0.020
    0.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    3.950
    -0.100
    -2.5%
  • WAIT.USA
    126.000
    1.000
    0.8%
  • ITVI.USA
    15,285.540
    -94.080
    -0.6%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.776
    -0.010
    -0.4%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.450
    -0.050
    -0.2%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,256.620
    -93.130
    -0.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    3.300
    -0.240
    -6.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.950
    -0.020
    -0.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.440
    0.000
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.310
    0.060
    1.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.150
    0.020
    0.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    3.950
    -0.100
    -2.5%
  • WAIT.USA
    126.000
    1.000
    0.8%
American ShipperShippingWarehouse

Improving on ‘Free-Flow’

Experimental off dock drop yard at the Port of Los Angeles could help speed containers.

   Draymen and shippers longing for the “good old days” of containerization, when a truck arriving at a container terminal would find a box already mounted on a chassis and ready to be taken to a customer’s warehouse, could get something similar if an experiment at the Port of Los Angeles works out.
   Over the past year, some large shippers have been using a program promoted by PierPass called “Free-Flow” to expedite the removal of containers from terminals in the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach. The program is sometimes called “peel off” and a similar program goes by the name “Speed Gate” in Canada.
   Beneficial cargo owners moving at least 50 containers, such as large retail chains, have all their containers placed in single stack at a container terminal as they are discharged from a ship. Then they arrange with the terminal to send large number of drayage trucks to pick up the containers.
   The truckers are given a security code and then go to that part of the terminal where the BCOs containers are located and a longshoreman using a top picker “peels off” the containers from the top of the stack and loads them onto the trucker’s chassis since every container is going to the same destination, instead of hunting through the stack for a particular container.
   The containers are then taken to a warehouse or other location near the port and the trucker then returns to the terminal with a chassis with an empty container, which is then removed at the terminal and the chassis is reloaded with another container.
   The program has proven popular enough that Mark Wheeler, general manager of West Basin Container Terminal (WBCT), said the terminal removed 10,000 containers using Free-Flow last year, about 5 percent of the local containers that went out the gate. He said WBCT would like to move 50,000 containersper year using free flow.
   25 trucking companies and 40 beneficial cargo owners participated last year.
   Vic La Rosa, president and chief executive of the drayage company Total Transportation Services Inc. (TTSI), said that done correctly, especially out of WBCT, his firm has seen 22 minute turn times for truckers using Free-Flow.
   “The big drawback that’s happened on the truck community side is that we have not been able to get back quickly enough to the marine terminal,” said La Rosa.
   The new twist to the Free-Flow story began last week when TTSI and Pasha Stevedoring opened a new off-dock “drop yard” at the Navy marine facility at Reeves and Navy Way in the Port of Los Angeles Friday. The 22 acre yard will have space to store 700 containers on chassis and will also have room for maintenance and repair work to be done on chassis.
   La Rosa said he expects the facility will be up and running within 30 days.
   The facility is close to not only WBCT, but APM Terminals Pier 400, the Eagle Marine Container Terminal, and Yusen Terminals.
   La Rosa explained that his truckers will move chassis loaded with containers from the marine terminal to an off dock “drop yard” and then return to the terminal with empties for additional loads.
   From the drop yard, the trucks can then be drayed to their final destination, either by TTSI drivers or other trucking companies.
   Though each move will involve two truckers, La Rosa said the cost to the beneficial cargo owner should be about the same. That’s because of the increase in productivity that the drop-yard will enable. He said a driver cycling to and from the drop yard to the marine terminal should be able to make four to five moves per day. And a driver moving cargo to and from a location such as the Ontario in the “Inland Empire” might be able to make two or three moves. As a result, La Rosa said the beneficial cargo owner should be able to negotiate rates with a trucker that is able to increase its productivity.
   The drop yard will be a secure facility, open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and employ ILWU clerks and maintenance workers. Truckers will not have to pay PierPass fees when they call the off-dock facility during the day.
   La Rosa said that he plans to dedicate 450 trucks to operations involving the drop yard, which he said will be “in constant flow.”He hopes to get 4-5 turns per day from each driver moving cargo from terminals to the drop yard.
     He stressed that the drop yard is just for short term storage of containers and have to be removed within 24 hours or get a “stiff” bill. “If your trucker can’t handle it, get a hold of us and we will get it out of the yard for you,” said LaRosa.
   La Rosa said that the drop yard concept “is one of the most practical, most cost effective solutions we can bring to the market.”
   He said word of the project “is really starting to spread and it’s really starting to catch momentum.”
   “If this thing explodes, there is going to be need for additional real estate on the Long Beach side” of the two ports. He said the Port of Long Beach board on Thursday night approved a plan to set up a similar drop yard on a 30 acre site at Pier S.
  

Chris Dupin

Chris Dupin has written about trade and transportation and other business subjects for a variety of publications before joining American Shipper and Freightwaves.

We are glad you’re enjoying the content

Sign up for a free FreightWaves account today for unlimited access to all of our latest content

By signing in for the first time, I give consent for FreightWaves to send me event updates and news. I can unsubscribe from these emails at any time. For more information please see our Privacy Policy.