Oakland’s TraPac Marine Terminal recently introduced night shifts.
It is the second port in Oakland that will try to tackle port congestion by working at night, following the lead of Oakland International Terminal, who started operating at night 2 years ago and has seen success by reducing congestion and dramatically shortening transaction times.
Congestion is a huge problem at every U.S. port, costing millions of dollars, causing delays, and creating nightmares for those in the import and export business. Different ports have devised solutions to reduce day time congestion, such as the PierPass system at the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, or extended receiving hours at the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma. Despite these efforts, the ongoing port congestion issue is growing rapidly and continues to have major effects on the shipping industry.
The latest effort to tackle port congestion is the introduction of night shifts.
In Oakland, the TraPac Marine Terminal announced they will begin operating at night starting October 29th. The shift will be 6 PM to 3 AM Monday through Friday. This is in addition to the existing 7 AM to 6 PM daytime shift. In doing so, terminal operators and port authorities aim to reduce daytime crowding and expedite procedures at the port.
Truckers will be able to use full service gates for picking up import containers, returning export containers, and picking up empty containers and chassis during the night shift. It is believed that this will help truckers operate faster than during daytime shifts, as there will be less traffic and shorter truck queues at night.
Mark Zampa, TraPac Marine Terminal’s communications director, is hopeful about the new project, saying “This is another significant step in Oakland’s operational transformation over the last two years, the terminals responsible for the vast majority of the port’s cargo now operate two shifts to combat truck queues and cargo delays.”
Of course, putting a full-service night shift to work will add additional operational costs to the port’s bottom line.
Officials plan to compensate for these increased costs by adding $30 for all loaded containers during both the day and night shifts starting October 29th. Containers leaving the port by rail will not be subject to this fee.
The question of how cargo owners will react to higher fees, and how the night shift will work, remain. However, one thing is certain: Oakland ports don’t sleep!