Many Los Angeles trucks opt for offpeak hours, PierPass says

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PierPass says its OffPeak program has diverted more than five million truck trips from peak daytime traffic since the program’s start in July 2005. The program has helped reduce bottlenecks – and resulting pollution – at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in California, according to the company.

In an average week, OffPeak removes 60,000 truck trips from the freeways during busy commuting hours, reducing congestion and benefiting local air quality.

OffPeak uses a congestion-pricing model that provides an incentive for cargo owners to move shipments at night and on weekends. Cargo owners moving containers at the two ports during peak daytime hours are required to pay a Traffic Mitigation Fee, which helps fund the cost of operating five new shifts per week at marine terminals (Monday through Thursday nights, and Saturdays).

Local, state and federal officials and business leaders have lauded OffPeak as a model for industry-led initiatives to mitigate impacts on communities and the environment. The new night and Saturday truck gates help alleviate port congestion while giving government, community and business stakeholders a window of opportunity to work together on longer-term solutions.

In 2006, more than 2.9 million truck trips used OffPeak operation hours. This represents more than 13,000 trucks per OffPeak shift, or about 36 percent of all container traffic at the ports.

PierPass achieved the milestone of five million truck trips – enough trucks to circle the earth 2.6 times – with the support of community leaders, elected officials, regulatory agencies and the goods movement industry. The input of the PierPass Advisory Committee, composed of a broad representation of goods movement industry sectors, has been particularly important in guiding OffPeak.

Together, the adjacent ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are the fifth-largest in the world, handling more than 40 percent of the nation’s total import traffic and 24 percent of its total exports. They are the primary gateway for trade between the United States and Asia.

Container traffic at the ports surged more than 33 percent between 2003 and 2006, increasing by 1.5 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent units, or half the size of a typical container) in 2006 alone to more than 15 million TEUs, according to the Journal of Commerce.

In 2007, PierPass estimates that up to 38 percent of all container truck trips to and from the ports will be diverted to OffPeak operation hours. This means that about 3.4 million trucks trips will be taken off the roads during busy commuter periods this year, the company says.