Congestion-busting scheme pays off

Port of Los Angeles The OffPeak programme is designed to reduces cargo-related congestion and pollution in and around the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Photo: Port of Los Angeles

A programme set up to reduce truck traffic and pollution during peak daytime traffic hours and alleviate port congestion has taken 48m truck trips out of daytime Southern California traffic since its inception in July 2005.

PierPass Inc. said that its OffPeak programme reduces cargo-related congestion and pollution in and around the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach by diverting truck trips to night and Saturday shifts funded by the programme, now informally called ‘PierPass 2.0’.

“The severe traffic impacts caused by cargo movement in the pre-PierPass era of daytime-only operation is becoming a distant memory,” said PierPass president, John Cushing.

The number of annual truck trips to and from the ports rose 20% between 2005 and 2019, a period that saw no significant expansion of nearby highway capacity.

The OffPeak Program established regular night and Saturday work shifts at the two adjacent ports. The expanded shifts are primarily funded by a Traffic Mitigation Fee (TMF) levied on loaded containers entering and exiting the ports by truck.

Because there is no fee on intermodal cargo (containers leaving or arriving by rail), the TMF is paid by cargo headed for Southern California and other nearby destinations. For example, containers arriving from Asia and leaving the ports by rail to other parts of the U.S. don’t pay the TMF.

The OffPeak programme was restructured in November 2018. The revised programme, informally called ‘PierPass 2.0’ reduces traffic congestion by spreading cargo movement across two shifts using appointments.

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