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Shippers, brokers, truckers and logistics companies can now begin to register in PierPass, the program for extended gate hours being developed by terminal operators at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. This program was developed to help reduce traffic congestion in the heavily trafficked area, according to the organization managing the program.
Affiliated Computer Services, the company hired by the terminals to develop and operate the information technology system to manage the program for night and weekend gates, will begin enrolling companies for PierPass accounts online at http://www.pierpass-tmf.org.
The program will officially launch in late July when all marine terminals open during off-peak hours. To cover the cost of operating extra shifts and provide an incentive for customers to use the extended gates, the PierPass special purpose entity will assess a $40 per TEU fee ($80 for a 40-foot container) on every container that moves out of the yard during peak daytime hours. Containers that move during off-peak hours or by train through the Alameda Corridor are exempt from the fee.
Companies will be billed through their accounts for peak moves or receive automatic credit for designated off-peak or rail moves.
The terminals have doubled the original fee even before the program has taken full effect. When the program was announced last year, the terminals established a $20 per TEU fee and said it could double within six months. Now, the $20 fee will apply during the transition period for systems testing scheduled for mid-June to late-July and rise to $40 per TEU as soon as PierPass goes live.
PierPass and FMI will define peak daytime hours as 3 a.m. to 6 p.m.
PierPass President Bruce Wargo encouraged all port users to register as soon as possible whether or not they intend to use off-peak gates.
As for FMI, we encourage all of our West Coast trucking customers to register for Pier Pass, and we will be in contact with you in the very near future to determine whether you will be a "night shift" customer or a "day shift" customer.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact your local FMI sales representative.
In an effort to help reduce congestion for the upcoming "peak season", the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles are preparing to reduce storage and free time at marine terminals. Both ports plan to implement the new policy by July 1, 2005.
The Long Beach harbor commission recently voted to preliminary approve a reduction in the number of days that import and export containers can be stored on the docks free of charge. In addition, Long Beach will amend its tariff to change the method for calculating free time. Los Angeles is scheduled to address the same issues at its May 25 harbor commission meeting.
Both ports intend to reduce the free time from five (5) days to four (4) days for storing import containers. Free storage time for export containers will be reduced to six (6) business days from seven (7), at present.
Also of importance, the ports will calculate the beginning of free time from the day after a container is removed from a ship. At present, free-time calculation begins after the entire vessel has been unloaded. With today's 8,000-TEU vessels taking three to five days to discharge all of their cargo, those containers unloaded first receive as many as 10 days' free storage time.
With container volumes increasing about 10 percent a year, ports and terminal operators across the country are looking to reduce free storage time as a way to decongest marine terminals. Last year, Los Angeles-Long Beach experienced five months of congestion due to a longshore labor shortage and capacity constraints on the intermodal rail network.
Marine engineers say that cutting container dwell time in half would double the throughput capacity of a marine terminal without having to engage in costly physical expansion of the facility.
China will raise export tariffs on textiles, seeking to avoid U.S. government and European Union limits on shipments of Chinese shirts, trousers and underwear.
China's textile exporters will have to pay a tax of as much as 4 Yuan (48 U.S. cents) per item to sell their goods abroad, up from a maximum of 0.3 Yuan, the finance ministry said today on its Web site. The new duties, imposed on 74 product types from June 1, are five times higher than previous taxes for most items.
Many textiles exporters believe the tariffs may not be enough to stop the U.S. and EU restrictions, less than five months after a four-decade-old system of global textile quotas ended. China's textiles and clothing exports surged 29 percent in the first quarter, aggravating trade tensions with the U.S., which reported a record $162 billion trade deficit with China last year.
The EU has escalated threats to act against China since Feb. 24, when Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson urged ``moderation and caution'' during a trip to Beijing. On April 6, Mandelson rejected appeals from Euratex, which represents clothing manufacturers such as Marzotto SpA and Chargeurs SA, for immediate curbs. On May 17, he cut short a 60-day probe into a surge in imports of Chinese T-shirts and flax yarn and demanded immediate Chinese action to curb exports of the two products.
China's total exports were worth $97.4 billion last year, according to figures from the China National Textile & Apparel Council. The U.S. accounts for 24 percent of global textile and clothing imports, while the EU accounts for about 20 percent.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's biggest retailer, said the changes are unlikely to have much effect on its business.
Tariffs for women's cotton suits will be raised to 4 Yuan from 0.2 Yuan per item, and those for women's overcoats will rise to 4 Yuan from 0.3 Yuan.
California lawmakers gave their initial approval on Tuesday to a bill that would raise $130 million annually to improve port security by imposing a $10 fee on each cargo container shipped into the state.
"California simply cannot wait for the federal government to step up to the plate and make an honest commitment to improving port security," Reuters quoted Assembly member Betty Karnette, D-Long Beach, the bill's sponsor, as saying.
The measure, which passed the chamber's transportation committee on a 7-5 vote, now heads to the Assembly's appropriations committee.
The bill would authorize the state's Office of Homeland Security to assess and collect fees on cargo container traffic and distribute the funds to California's ports.
The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, if combined, would be the world's fifth busiest complex after Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai and Shenzhen, said Art Wong, a spokesman for the Port of Long Beach.
The two ports handle about two-thirds of all ocean cargo shipped to the U.S. West Coast every year. The two ports last year handled 13.1 million TEUs.
©2005 FMI International