Both in Southern California and Montreal, there are new programs in place to ease the movement of shipments from the Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Vancouver.

During the second half of July, all marine terminals in the Ports of Los Angles and Long Beach will start Off-Peak shifts on nights and weekends. PierPASS – a not-for-profit organization created by marine terminal operators to reduce congestion and improve air quality in and around the Southern California Ports – has begun registration for OffPeak.

OffPeak provides incentives for cargo owners to move their shipments at nights and on weekends. Containers entering or exiting marine terminals at the Ports by road during peak daytime hours will be charged a Traffic Mitigation Fee of $40 per TEU (20-foot equivalent unit) or $80 for a 40-foot container. The fee will not be charged – will be refunded or credited if already paid – if the container enters or exits terminals by road during OffPeak hours.

Cargo owners will pay transportation Mitigation Fees: shippers, consignees or their agents.

Benefits cited by PierPASS include spreading of existing traffic across more hours, making better use of port assets and reduction in uncertainty of delivery times, making for better planning by cargo owners. Too, it’s anticipated that truck fleets and drivers will be able to reduce pickup and dropoff times and that truck traffic on California highways during heavy commute hours will be reduced.

With heavy import volumes coming to the Canadian interior from its Port of Vancouver, there have been surges in truck traffic at Montreal’s Lachine terminal. In response to the problems involved, Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) will open its Lachine Terminal from midnight Sunday through midnight Friday beginning on June 6.

The extension of hours was created after joint consultation with the Quebec Trucking Association, I.E. Canada (the Canadian Association of Importers and Exporters), the Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association (CIFFA), CPR and others within the shipping community.

Marc Bibeau, CIFFA vice president, remarked, “We must change the way we do business if we want to avoid potential gridlock and lengthy delays at the rail yards. This is a positive start in expediting container movements. Taking advantage of the after hours opening can only prevail in better overall service in the long run. This will minimize costs, increase productivity and avoid costly storage charges.”

For its part, CPR has increased staff levels, added five new Fantuzzi toplift machines and has begun a two-year track expansion plan.