PierPASS suspends off-peak shifts on Saturdays
The volume drop in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach this year has persuaded terminal operators in the two ports to suspend off-peak shifts on Saturdays to reduce operational costs.
The ports have felt the impact of a 19 percent drop in container volume in October and November. So PierPASS, the program introduced in 2005 to add weekday night and Saturday shifts to container terminals in Southern California, will be suspended beginning Jan. 17, with the last Saturday shift on Jan. 10.
'With the drop in cargo volume, terminal operators must reduce their operational costs,' said PierPASS President and CEO Bruce Wargo. 'When economic activity rebounds and cargo volume growth resumes, we will evaluate whether to reinstate the Saturday shift.'
Wargo also said there's significant unused capacity during the second half of night shifts on weekdays.
'Labor costs on Saturdays are 1.5 times the base rate, while night shift labor rates are 1.33 times the base rate,' PierPASS said.
The terminal operators added that they are studying traffic patterns and volume and the impact of ending the Saturday shift to decide if the traffic mitigation fee that sustains the PierPASS program needs to be continued. Containers moving through the ports during daytime weekday hours pay a per-box fee to the terminal operators to fund the extra shifts required on nights and Saturdays.
The program was developed as a way to combat growing congestion in and around the ports as container volumes skyrocketed in the early 2000s. But as it has slowed and retracted in the last two years, the extra shifts may be superfluous until growth rebounds.