A can of worms …

“PierPASS is a not-for-profit company created by marine terminal operators to reduce congestion and improve air quality in and around the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports.”  This was the information provided by PierPASS Inc. to the FINANCIAL NEWS a few weeks ago.  A number of other services have echoed this statement, so it’s probably an accurate one, even though it is concise.


In the same report, the FINANCIAL NEWS went on to say that, “Beginning on July 23, most cargo will not be allowed to exit terminals in the two ports by road during peak hours unless the Traffic Mitigation Fee has been paid”.


A statement in the June 24th report issued by the Elite Group Inc. is worded this way, “… if you are not registered with PierPass your container is not going to go anywhere”.


The final sentence in the June 8th Journal of Commerce article, “PierPass plans single roll-out” reads as follows: “In order to move cargo to and from the ports during designated peak traffic periods, cargo owners, customs brokers, truckers or logistics companies will have to pay the traffic mitigation fee or the marine terminal will not release the container”.


Even earlier, on May 19th, the Long Beach Press Telegram reported that, “ … terminals will be able to hold containers during the day if the fee hasn’t been paid in advance”.


Yup … you’ve already figured out the point we’re about to make.  Back in our first paragraph, in the statement issued to the FINANCIAL NEWS by PierPASS Inc., it clearly states that one of the objectives of the marine terminal operators is to, “… reduce congestion … in and around the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports”.  In the next four paragraphs we quoted four of the many published articles that have appeared in newspapers and journals over the past several months.  PierPass officials have made themselves perfectly clear on this point … no ticket, no laundry.  It stands to reason then, that if containers are retained within the port because of the failure to pay the Traffic Mitigation Fee, this would certainly reduce the congestion on the highways.  The traffic will be mitigated on those roads, right?  That’s what they’ve been saying, haven’t they?  And that’s what will happen, won’t it?  Can’t you just see the chaos that will be created inside the terminals though?


We criticized this OffPeak system a number of times in our earlier commentaries and we stand by those criticisms.  Others have assumed the same stance.  FAIRPLAY, a widely read international maritime journal, issued a report on a meeting held by 250 truckers last week protesting the decision to impose the PierPass regimen upon port drivers.  On the 11th,  Reuters published a lengthy report bearing the warning, “Truckers mull boycott at Southern California port”.  The story went on to say that leaflets are being circulated at the ports of LA/Long Beach urging drivers to stage a one-day work stoppage on the 23rd,   “over concerns about the new overnight shifts, and potentially disrupting cargos at the start of the year’s busiest shipping season”.  “There’s a lot of people who are concerned that there are going to be huge and massive disruptions,” was Robin Lanier’s most recent admonition.  They’ll ignore her again, however.  They’ve opened a can of worms this time.