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Goods Movement

semi-tucks on port dockThe Port of Los Angeles is a key player in California’s goods movement initiatives, which highlight transportation improvement projects and dockworker safety issues.  Current related development projects include a Port-wide transportation master plan for roadways and facilities; new on- and near-dock rail facilities; truck driver studies; extended terminal gates; and terminal free time to encourage the use of extended-hour gates.  Coupled with the recent 51 percent increase in dockworker employment, the OffPeak program, implemented by PierPASS, contributes to keeping the Port complex open and cargo moving without the threat of congestion.

Port of Los Angeles Transportation Master Plan

The Port of Los Angeles is currently developing a Port-wide transportation master plan for roadways in and around its facilities. Present and future traffic improvement needs are being determined, based on existing and projected traffic volumes. This three-year effort will be completed by the end of 2006. The results will be a Transportation Master Plan providing ideas on what to expect and how to prepare for the future volumes. Some of the transportation improvements under consideration include: I-110/SR-47/Harbor Blvd. interchange improvements; Navy Way connector (grade separation) to westbound Seaside Ave.; south Wilmington grade separations; and additional traffic capacity analysis for the Vincent Thomas Bridge. 

Additional On-Dock Rail Facility

The Port of Los Angeles has on-dock rail facilities at all but one container terminal in the port complex. The Port of Los Angeles is in the process of preparing the necessary environmental documents and design drawings for a new on-dock rail facility at the TraPac terminal. It is expected that this new on-dock rail facility could eliminate more than 200,000 truck trips per year into and out of the terminal. Estimated year of completion is 2009.

Southern California International Gateway

The Port of Los Angeles is developing a new near dock rail facility, which will be operated by Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF). This facility will be used to handle Port related intermodal containers.  The proposed site for this facility is Port of Los Angeles property north of Pacific Coast Highway, south of Sepulveda Boulevard and west of the SR103. Today, port related containers moving between the BNSF railyard and the ports travel on the I-710 freeway. Once this facility is fully operational, it is expected that one million port-related trucks could be eliminated from the I-710 freeway per year. Estimated year of completion is 2009.

Badger BridgeSR-47 Expressway/Schuyler Heim Bridge Replacement

The SR-47 Port Access Expressway will build a four-lane elevated highway from Terminal Island to Alameda Street north of Anaheim Street and south of Pacific Coast Highway. Caltrans and the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority (ACTA) are heading up this project. In addition, the project will provide for the replacement of the seismically deficient Heim lift bridge over the Cerritos Channel with a fixed span bridge. The draft EIR is being prepared. Sources for funding the $40 million design and $350 million construction have not yet been determined. This project would reduce approximately 6-7% of the port related truck traffic on the I-710 freeway. Completion date is approximately 2011 but is based on available funding. Some federal funding was approved for part of the construction.

Terminal Free Time

Prior to July 2005, the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach tariffs provide five free days for import containers and seven free days for export containers on the terminals. In order to improve the velocity of equipment at the terminals and encourage the usage of off-peak gates, on July 1, 2005, the ports, with the approval of the California Association of Port Authorities (CAPA), reduced free time down to four days for imports and down to six days for exports. Additionally, by mid-2006, CAPA will consider further reducing free time to three days for imports and five days for exports.

pier pass

Extended Terminal Gates

Through the efforts of the Port of Los Angeles Regional Goods Movement Task Team, a recommendation was made that a fee be assessed to the cargo owner for usage of terminal gates during peak commuter hours. The fee could be used to help offset the cost of off-peak gates. The shipping industry responded with the implementation of the OffPeak program, managed by PierPASS, an organization created by marine terminal operators, which provides five off-peak terminal gates on the same day, same shift – at all 13 terminals within the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. A $40-per-TEU fee is charged to the beneficial cargo owners for all containers arriving at the San Pedro Bay ports. If a container is moved during one of the off-peak terminal gates or via rail, the beneficial cargo owner receives a refund of that fee. Originally projected to increase off-peak gate usage to more than 40 percent, the OffPeak program has exceeded expectations by successfully increasing cargo movement, reducing truck-waiting time inside port terminals and truck traffic during peak daytime commuting periods.  For more information about PierPASS/OffPeak, call 1-877-863-3310.

Shuttle Train/Inland Container Yard

The Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority (ACTA) estimates that two million TEUs per year travel from the ports to the Inland Empire (Colton, Ontario, Mira Loma, etc). The Inland Empire is home to over 350 million square feet of warehousing. Most of the port related containers are carried on the heavily traveled I-710, I-10 and I-60 freeways.   

ACTA is planning to implement a pilot program rail shuttle service between the ports’ on-dock rail facilities and a rail facility in Colton. The pilot program will consist of a daily train to and from Colton. The containers will be trucked between the Colton rail facility and the beneficial cargo owners’ facility. This will help reduce the number of trucks on the freeways and improve truck driver turn time. Due to the added handling in rail and trucking costs vs. trucking, ACTA is seeking $5 million in subsidies to offset the difference in costs. In the long-term, ACTA is looking for a permanent inland location, added track capacity and the ability to operate five shuttle trains per day.

Origin/Destination and Toll Study

The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach recently conducted a truck driver survey, which will identify the origin and destination of international containers in the Los Angeles area. This information will be useful to determine the location of warehouses and identify the routes truck drivers used to move containers to and from the ports.

Additionally, the bridges serving Terminal Island (Vincent Thomas, Gerald Desmond and Heim Bridge) are not currently designed to handle the trade volumes projected at the San Pedro Bay ports. In order to identify funding mechanisms to replace/enhance these bridges, the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach also are conducting a toll study. This toll study will explore potential funding sources for bridge replacement and truck driver behavior if tolls were assessed on the bridges servicing the San Pedro Bay Ports. The study and analysis should be completed in late 2005.

Virtual Container Yard

A study conducted in 2000 indicated that approximately 1.1 million import containers are emptied in Southern California. Virtually all these containers come back empty to the San Pedro Bay ports. Additionally, the study indicates that 500,000 empty containers were trucked from the marine terminals to be loaded with export cargo. ACTA and the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are exploring implementing a system that would match an empty container from an import move to an empty export move. This could eliminate a number of empty container movements on the highway.

Increased On-Dock Rail Usage

The railroads are working with the shipping lines and terminal operators in consolidating neighboring terminals’ intermodal volume to create larger trains to interior points, thereby eliminating truck transportation to the rail ramps.

Community Outreach and Support

The Port of Los Angeles is soliciting goods movement input from the community and sharing information on this subject to community stakeholders. The community has been involved in the development of the Port’s current transportation projects.

Union Pacific Railroad Initiative

This initiative shifts international intermodal volume from the downtown Los Angeles rail ramp to the existing intermodal yard four miles from the Port, which could eliminate an estimated 500,000 truck trips a year from the I-710 freeway.  

Optical Character Recognition (OCR)

Many terminals at both the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have implemented OCR technology, which eliminates the need to type container numbers in the computer system. This expedites the truck driver through terminal gates.

Truck Driver Appointment System

Many of the terminals at both the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have implemented an appointment system that provides a pre-notification to terminals regarding which containers are planned to be picked up.

State of California Goods Movement and Ports

The Secretary of Business, Transportation, and Housing Department along with the Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency held numerous meetings to identify public-private partnerships in goods movement and environmental programs, with a focus on achieving shared goals. The state unveiled a draft goods movement action plan, which highlights transportation projects, environmental programs, and safety issues. These meetings demonstrate the State's commitment in providing a much needed goods movement infrastructure.

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