Board of Harbor Commissioners Approve Temporary “Empty Container Depot” to Relieve Congestion

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Photo courtesy of the Port of Long Beach.

Photo courtesy of the Port of Long Beach.

Acting to relieve cargo delivery delays, the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners on Thursday approved the use of Port of Long Beach property as a temporary site for the storage of empty containers, which will help to free up needed equipment to move cargo out of shipping terminals faster.

The “Temporary Empty Container Depot” will be operated on 30 acres of a vacant, undeveloped area on Pier S on Terminal Island.

The temporary depot will help put back into circulation more of the chassis — the wheeled trailer-frames that trucks use to haul cargo containers. Because many terminals are congested due to the current peak in cargo volume and have no room to accept empty cargo containers, more space is needed to temporarily store those empties. The temporary empty container storage depot will provide a location for truckers to deliver empty containers and remove them from a chassis, and then use the chassis to pick up and haul loaded containers to their destination.

The depot will be operated by a private company, Pasha Stevedoring and Terminals, under a permit that will expire at the end of March 2015.

“The depot could be ready to start accepting empty containers in two weeks, which would bring some needed relief to our tenants and the entire supply chain,” said Jon Slangerup, Port of Long Beach Chief Executive. “This will help correct the chassis supply imbalance.”

The depot is one of several measures the Port is pursuing to relieve the congestion issues that have come with the surge of cargo in the last two months. A busy peak shipping season, the advent of larger ships and a change in the ownership system for chassis fleets brought congestion to many seaports this year.

“We hear our customers loud and clear. This congestion is not acceptable, and the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners is ensuring that the Port of Long Beach is doing everything it can to see that we clear up these issues now and forever,” said Doug Drummond, President of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners.

In addition to the depot, the Port has identified a plan to operate its own chassis fleet for peak cargo shipping seasons and peak demand. Long Beach also facilitated the introduction by private chassis fleets of an additional 3,000 chassis into the local area.

And Harbor Department leadership continues to work with stakeholders to gather data, facilitate solutions and speed cargo flow throughout the supply chain.

The Port of Long Beach is one of the world’s premier seaports, a gateway for trans-Pacific trade and a trailblazer in goods movement and environmental stewardship. With 140 shipping lines connecting Long Beach to 217 seaports, the Port handles $180 billion in trade annually, supporting thousands of Southern California jobs.

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