How to Diminish Container Terminal 'Trouble Ticket' Problems

Press Release
Thursday, January 10, 2013

Marine terminal operators at the Ports of Los Angeles & Long Beach launch initiative to speed cargo moves by reducing 'Trouble Tickets'.

PierPass Inc., a not-for-profit company created by marine terminal operators at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, announce an initiative to reduce the number of transaction problems experienced when trucks pick up or deliver containers at the marine terminals at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. These problems – exceptions from normal processes that result in the issuance of "trouble tickets" -- lead to substantial delays in container movement through the terminals.

About 5% of all transactions at terminals in the United States result in trouble tickets, which on average add about an hour to the "turn time," the amount of time a truck spends at a terminal, according to a 2011 report by the National Cooperative Freight Research Program (NCFRP).

The report found that "exceptions from normal processes [are] a major source of delay and cost. The long 'tails' on the turn time data, in particular, suggest that around 5% of the cases consume much more than the 'normal' time and expense." Most trouble tickets can be prevented through better communications before a truck arrives at the terminal gates, the NCFRP report said.

PierPass has surveyed terminal operators at the Long Beach and Los Angeles ports to determine the most common causes of trouble tickets, and found that the situation at the two adjacent ports matches what NCFRP found nationally. While trouble tickets are caused by a range of issues, they usually are tied to inaccurate or incomplete information about an import container delivery or an export booking problem. When issued a trouble ticket, the driver typically has to go to a "trouble window" or office to get the issue resolved. This results in delays for customers and truckers and higher costs for terminal operators.

"Trucking companies can avoid most trouble tickets and reduce turn times by checking with the terminals' web-based systems before coming to the terminal gates," said Bruce Wargo , president of PierPass. "These systems let dispatchers confirm the availability of import containers or the validity of export booking numbers before prematurely sending a truck to the terminal."

PierPass is distributing a fact sheet to trucking companies with tips on trouble-ticket prevention.

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