Terminal operators at Los Angeles and Long Beach are increasing PierPass Traffic Mitigation Fee (TMF) by 2.5 per cent or US$1.50 to $61.50 per TEU and by $3 to $123 per FEU on August 1 to offset higher labour costs, the Shipping Gazette informs.
The fee was raised for the first time since 2006 on August 1, 2011 when it increased by $10 per TEU after hourly labour costs grew more than 31 per cent over the period. At that time, it was announced that beginning in mid-2012 it would begin adjusting the TMF annually to address labour cost increases.
The TMF helps pay for the night and Saturday marine terminal shifts created by the PierPass OffPeak programme to relieve daytime congestion in and around the ports. It also provides a financial incentive to move cargo during less congested times.
The terminals have operated the OffPeak gates at a loss since the programme's start in 2005, when they doubled the number of shifts per week, essentially spreading the same number of containers over twice the working hours. Cargo volume since 2005 has been essentially flat. The shortfall between TMF revenues and OffPeak gate costs was $55 million in 2011 and $52.3 million in 2010.
Over the past seven years, PierPass OffPeak gates have grown to handle 55 per cent of all container traffic at the ports, accommodated 21 million truck calls, and eased congestion on city streets and nearby freeways during daytime business hours, said a PierPass statement.
"The OffPeak programme greatly increases the capacity of America's largest port complex without requiring additional infrastructure," said Bruce Wargo, president of PierPass.