PierPass was put in place at the Port of Los Angeles – Long Beach in 2005 as means to address the community concerns of port generated traffic and resulting congestion. Terminals at the port charge a traffic mitigation fee during peak hours between 8am and 5pm Monday through Friday, the fee is not charged during night and weekend gate hours. This has resulted in approximately 50 percent of port traffic to occur during off-peak hours.
At a recent PierPass working group, Duncan Hunter, the chairman of the U.S. House subcommittee that oversees marine transportation said, the federal government should not become involved in any reforms of the PierPass program. Mr. Hunter made comment that the “ingenious” PierPass should serve as a model for other ports looking to extend their gate hours to reduce congestion.
Mr. Hunter’s comments rattled truckers and shippers who believe that the PierPass program must be changed to improve equipment management, reduce traffic and pollution, and enhance the overall port efficiency.
Beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) in general favor a smaller, flat fee charged on all truck moves, regardless of date or time, similar to what the largest terminal operator in Oakland (Oakland International Container Terminal) has put in place. In Oakland, a flat $30.00 is applied to all moves, while Pier Pass fee is currently at $70.49 per 20-foot container, and $140.98 per 40-foot container when applied.
Federal Maritime Commission Chairman Mario Cordero said that their agency has every intention of remaining involved in the PierPass redevelopment exercise, and that if any changes are to be made, they would be transparent and the interest of port users would be protected.
Mr. Cordero said, “These are the BCOs, exporters, importers, and truck drivers who use the Southern California port complex and have legitimate questions about PierPass. In recent years, the calls to reform PierPass’ operations we have heard from those parties have grown steadily in number, and louder in tone.”