The Northwest Seaport Alliance said it will reimburse up to $2 million to extend gate hours at its international container terminals during peak season.
With a 3 to 5 percent increase in cargo volume forecasted during peak season, which will start in late August and continue through early November, the alliance proposes to help the marine terminal operators avoid congestion on surface streets in the port industrial area and keep import and export cargo flowing efficiently.
This program will reimburse terminal operators for some of the costs to operate flexed gates from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. and lunch gate hours Monday through Friday during peak season.
It also would provide one off-shift gate per week. Off-shift gates are after 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or any shift on Saturday or Sunday.
The program will kick off the week of August 22 and last up to 12 weeks.
“We applaud the NWSA efforts in working on turn times and congestion to keep both the seaport and the shippers in the Northwest viable,” said Laura Daniels, ocean shipping coordinator for Anderson Hay & Grain Co.
“We depend on delivering full containers and picking up an empty with a maximum turn time at the terminals of one hour. This allows our trucks to return to our plant with an empty, which will be used for production that afternoon,” Mary Anne Levine, global logistics and customer relations for Calaway Trading, wrote in a letter. “Longer gate hours would help, as well as alternating labor to work through breaks and lunch time.”
“I welcome the ports’ recommendation to open late gates, which will provide some needed relief from congestion,” said Richard Perket, senior director of global logistics for Christopher & Banks Corporation. “It is critical to my business that we keep these marketed goods on time to marry up with marketing and promotions that have been planned for months.”