Delays at Global Terminal-Bayonne NJ

Global-Bayonne Terminal is experiencing long delays for trucks, as the Journal of Commerce reports.  The GBT is the only  major New York-New Jersey container terminal accessible to ships that are too tall to squeeze under the Bayonne Bridge.

Truckers have been complaining of turn times in excess of 8 hours or more and low levels of service. Delays have been worsened by a multi-year project to rebuild the New Jersey Turnpike exit to the terminal. Trucks on the busy turnpike share traffic lanes with commuters headed to and from New York City via the Holland Tunnel.

The Association of Bi-State Motor Carriers addressed these issues directly with the terminal and urged the terminal “to take immediate steps to rectify the unacceptable service levels being experienced, including but not limited to an immediate extension of weekday and Saturday hours through the end of December.”

Unfortunately, instead of seeing an  improvement in queues and turn times, the situation has gotten progressively worse, seriously affecting the truckers’ ability to do business at Port Newark.  Global-Bayonne received an “F” rating for October 2015 activity, and their Terminal Evaluation grade for November 2015 activity is also an “F”.

Without better terminal  productivity  drivers will find it impossible to pay for newer trucks that the port’s current clean-air program requires them to replace by January 1st, 2017.

 Next year, GCT Bayonne plans to launch an appointment system designed to meter the flow of trucks into the terminal and to various points within the terminal. An appointment or truck-management system was among the top recommendations of a port performance task force in 2013.
Terminal officials say that  regulating the flow of trucks will shorten turn times and maximize productivity by keeping all cranes busy. Many truckers are skeptical, and insist that turn times must be shortened before an appointment system will work.
 RCL Agencies will keep you updated on any further developments.

 

Port NY/NJ: Winter Weather Plan 2015-2016

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has issued a winter plan for 2015-2016 that includes measures to help minimize the potential impact of any winter events.  The plan includes measures to speed snow clearance, coordinate terminal closings and provide guidelines for extensions of free storage time.

This winter the Port Authority  plans to host conferences in advance of each predicted weather event. The terminal operators, trucking associations, labor, equipment providers and US Customs and Border Protection will all work together to develop a unified plan to address any weather related closings and to plan recovery efforts. Any changes in hours of operations (i.e. terminal closures, additional hours etc) will be communicated as early as possible via the PortNYNJAlerts system at paalerts.com and on the homepage of the Terminal Information Portal System (TIPS) at porttruckpass.com so that truckers and importers/exporters can better plan future container receipt and delivery.

When all terminals agree to a day-long weather closure, terminals will extend free time by 24 hours for all containers not in demurrage.

Intermodal Equipment Providers will waive per diem charges for the day of the port closure for all chassis on daily or pool usage agreements provided that they are returned to an authorized Stop Location within 24 hours of the closure. The above does not apply to chassis on term lease agreements.

This winter, the port authority will pre-treat roadways with brine before storms to reduce icing. The port authority and terminals also have stockpiled salt and snow removal equipment. Terminals have revised snow-plowing procedures and worked with the International Longshoremen’s Association on a tiered staffing plan based on predicted weather or snow removal.

Terminal operators have pledged to try to provide a week or more notice on extending their operating hours around Christmas and New Year’s, which will have consecutive weeks of three-day holidays.

During the next three months, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and customs exam station operators will provide extended hours to accommodate the peak season for cold-treated and perishable imports.

The rail carriers will continue to issue bulletins on their service level.

Trucking companies, importers and exporters, NVOCC’s and other service providers are encouraged to:

  • Verify both chassis and container availability dispatching a driver to the port;
  • ensure that all charges have been paid and releases are in place;
  • confirm export receiving and cut off times
  • utilize all available hours at the container terminals to conduct your transaction;
  • make use of TIPS (porttruckpass.com) to help optimize your visit to the port, and;
  • review the Truckers’ Resource Guide for procedures, Frequently Asked Questions and ways to avoid the Trouble Window

Drivers should remove all snow/ice accumulation from the tops of containers before coming to the port., otherwise it cause extra delays.

 

Brooklyn Barge Service

A cross-harbor barge service between Red Hook and Port Newark Container Terminal  has been launched, the Journal of Commerce reports.  The new service is an addition to an existing two-barge service linking Red Hook with its sister Newark terminal.  The service handles about 40,000 containers on its barges, each of which has capacity of up to 400 TEU’s per barge.

The Red Hook Cross Harbor Barge is the only service of its kind in the Port Of NY&NJ.  With two barges, containers can move quickly and efficiently across the Hudson River daily. Located in Brooklyn , NY Red Hook  is easily accessible to all major highways and Hudson River Crossings.

This initiative is one of the many solutions to help mitigate the already limited resources used to transport cargo in the New York and New Jersey region. The barge service creates the extra benefit of reducing congestion and the port’s environmental footprint

Stay informed with RCL Agencies updates about global ports and international shipping.

 

 

Heavy Weight Truck Amendment Defeated in House

A proposed congressional measure to allow heavier trucks to operate on the nation’s highways was rejected in the House last week, as The Hill reports.
The rejected amendment  have would allow states to increase the current weight limit for a 6-axle truck from 80,000 pounds to 91,000 pounds.

The measure was strongly opposed by the railroad industry, which said allowing the heavier trucks would damage U.S. highway infrastructure and create safety concerns. The AAR cited a U.S. Department of Transportation study released in June that found the added stress of bigger trucks would require engineering, repair work or replacement of nearly 5,000 bridges – implying that  this proposal would create a massive additional cost borne by U.S. taxpayers.

Supporters of the truck-weight amendment included more than 70 food and agriculture associations. This issue continues to be an AgTC (Agriculture Transportation Coalition) priority– the countries which are producing competitive products to US agriculture and forest products, such as Canada, Brazil, Argentina and all of Europe, currently allow 96,600 pounds gross vehicle weight, which is even 5000 pounds more than was being proposed in this amendment.

 Stay informed with RCL Agencies updates about  international shipping and transport regulations.

U.S. FMC to Re-Examine Contracting Rules

The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission is considering changes to rules covering contracts that govern most ocean container shipments to and from the United States,  the Journal of Commerce reports.

The FMC plans later this year to propose changes to shipper-carrier service contracts and non-vessel-operating common carrier service arrangements. The proposals would seek to “clarify, update, encourage leveraging technology, and provide regulatory relief where possible.”

Since the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 1998 ended the requirement that service contract terms be publicly posted, the vast majority of U.S. container shipments have moved under contracts.

The FMC said its plan to seek comment on service contract rules was in response to an executive order from President Obama calling for federal agencies to review their existing regulations to find ways to make them more effective and less cumbersome.

Non-vessel-operating common carriers have been clamoring for the FMC to revisit complex regulations affecting NVOs’ contracting. The FMC received diverse industry comments after the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America’s filed a petition in 2012 asking the FMC to lift “unnecessary, burdensome rules” governing NVOCC contracting.

The FMC in 2004 loosened the reins on NVOs by allowing them to enter service arrangements that permit individual contracts with customers. The commission in 2011 authorized a different kind of contract, NVOCC rate arrangements.

Unlike NVOCC service arrangements, these don’t have to be published. However, they cannot include credit and payment terms, rate methodology, minimum quantities, dispute forum selection or arbitration clauses, or other non-rate economic issues. NRAs also cannot be amended during their terms to negotiate individual contracts with customers, and NVO rate arrangements.

Stay informed with RCL updates about the latest shipping news and trade regulations.

CBP Urge West Coast Shippers to Use “single window”

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) directors  urged West Coast brokers and forwarders to  file trade documentation through the evolving “single window” initiative that CBP and several participating government agencies have established, even though mandatory electronic filing is still more than four months away.

The “single window” concept has huge potential for streamlining the filing of import and export documentation. Each agency has its own particular forms and documentation requirements, and its own system for receiving and processing the documents. Under the single window, the trade community will file through a single portal in order to reach all of the agencies that have filing requirements for various types of shipments.

CBP is urging importers, exporters, customs brokers and forwarders to participate in ACE and its single window for two reasons. The Customs’ initiatives will help the federal agencies involved in processing trade documentation do their jobs better, and the programs will provide actionable reports to the trade community easier, faster and in a more comprehensive format than ever before.

The mandatory filing of entry and entry-release documents to CBP and other federal agencies -known as participating government agencies or PGAs – that are involved in processing trade documentation was originally scheduled to take effect on November 1. However, the date was pushed back to February 28, 2016, when it became apparent in August that many importers, exporters, brokers and forwarders, as well as software programmers and some of the government agencies themselves, wouldn’t be ready for the November 1st date.

Nevertheless, CBP already has the capability of processing documents at the time of entry, as well after the shipments have been released, and in fact has been running several pilot projects to entice the trade community to get used to filing those documents electronically. CBP’s goal is to educate forwarders, brokers and their exporter and importer clients to become comfortable with electronic filing before the legacy systems are turned off and the trade community has no choice but to file through ACE and its single-window component.

Sandra Langford-Coty, vice president at Barthco International, dba OHL International, said that under ACE and the single window, the trade community will be required to file fewer data elements, CBP release for each filing will take two minutes or less and the system will generate a wealth of reports and information the trade can use.

Customs managers and customs brokers urged brokers who have not yet begun to file through ACE to get started soon by joining in the pilot projects, and to encourage their clients to do become familiar with electronic filing as well. Since CBP and the PGAs are still working to turn the pilots into finished programs, there is time for the trade community to help the government develop programs that are responsive to the needs of importers, exporters and brokers.

The source: The Journal of Commerce

U.S. House Introduces Transportation Bill

Last week, the United States House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee introduced a bi-partisan, six-year $325 billion surface transportation authorization entitled The Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015, according to Reuters.

Objectives of this legislation are to improve U.S. surface infrastructure, push innovation for projects by promoting private investment, and maximize use of new technology and congestion management tools while maintaining a strong commitment to safety.  The bill would give more autonomy to states and local governments for transportation projects.

The bill would authorize $261 billion for highway construction, $55 billion for public transit and $9 billion or so for highway safety programs.In addition, the proposal  is comprised of particular components related to freight transportation and  supply chains, including:
-Facilitating commerce and the movement of goods by modifying the National Highway Freight Network, with total mileage to increase from 27,000 to 41,000;
-Refocusing existing funding to create a Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects program at $4.5 billion for fiscal years 2016-2021 for large-scale projects of national or regional importance;
-Dedicate funding specifically for freight projects and establish a competitive grant process to ensure the best projects are awarded funding; and
-Provide a focus on the National Highway System and the nation’s freight needs.

The bill was introduced by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA), Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Highways and Transit Subcommittee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO), and Highways and Transit Subcommittee Ranking Member Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC). “This is a bill that improves our roads, bridges, and transportation system, as well as our economy, our competitiveness, and our everyday lives,” Shuster said. “The legislation streamlines, consolidates, and reforms transportation programs and offices, gives states and local governments more control in addressing their needs, refocuses on national transportation priorities, facilitates the flow of freight and commerce, and promotes innovation as we improve our infrastructure for the future. The more efficient our surface transportation system is, the less time we spend in traffic, the lower the transportation costs for goods and services, and the more jobs that are created throughout the economy.”

Some other key components of the bill include consolidating truck and bus safety grant programs and provide states with the flexibility to focus funding on safety priorities, providing a competitive grant option to address truck and bus facility needs, and accelerate the introduction of new technologies like electronic logging devices.

For more transportation news, visit our blog and social media profiles.

 

West Coast Port Update, October 20th

Congestion issues and truck power continue to be a problem in both LA/Long Beach and Oakland ports, according to information received from our local partners.

The terminals at the Port of Oakland are handling throughput better than in past months. However, some terminals are more congested than others, and while street wait times may be light, some truckers are still complaining of no appointments and long delays. In addition, construction is underway at the Ben E. Nutter terminal, which may affect traffic and potentially cause delays for the next several weeks.

In LA/Long Beach there continues to be sporadic issues. Early in October, there were ILWU stop work meetings, full shift or early closures, closed areas, empty return restrictions, restricted dual-only or single-only transactions allowed, and almost all terminals experienced chassis shortages. Not all terminals are providing 5 PierPass gates, despite the fact that this is peak season. Limiting PierPass gates make the empty/load match more challenging for truckers. From April through September, the average turn times have been approximately 98 minutes across all terminals, an improvement from the period of labor disruption, but still not where they should be.

If you have any questions about the movement of your cargo in or out of any port, please contact RCL Agencies at at 973-779-5900.

Implementation of NY-NJ Chassis Pool ‘making progress’

The implementation of a planned universal pool of interchangeable chassis at the Port of New York and New Jersey is making progress,  according to the Journal of Commerce.

Although there is no date yet for when planned port-wide “gray” pool might be launched,  Keith Lovetro, CEO of TRAC Intermodal, which controls two-thirds of the port’s approximately 30,000 chassis, said it could begin operation in the first quarter of 2016.

Improvements in chassis supply and quality are crucial to smooth port operations. Problems with chassis have been a key contributor to congestion that has plagued New York-New Jersey and other ports, including Los Angeles-Long Beach.

During the last five years, container lines have sold most of their chassis to leasing companies. The carriers did so in order to cut costs and bring their U.S. operations in line with other nations, where truckers or shippers supply their own equipment. The adjustment has been bumpy for ports and their customers.

In New York-New Jersey, the three main lessors —TRAC, Direct ChassisLink Inc. and Flexi-Van Leasing — operate independent pools that don’t share equipment. Truckers often must make an extra stop to switch chassis between different customers’ loads. These trips reduce drivers’ productivity and worsen congestion at terminal gates.

New York-New Jersey plans a  centrally managed “market pool” cooperative. The lessors plan to form a joint venture that will hire a pool manager. The manager would run the pool according to guidelines set by industry groups that have been working on the gray pool. Lovetro said the arrangement provides safeguards to ensure that chassis supply and prices aren’t manipulated.

The pool’s operating rules will include targets on chassis utilization levels, out-of-service equipment and other performance metrics. The plan is to open at least two or possibly three near-dock chassis depots to improve M&R quality and to help balance flows of chassis among marine terminals and other locations.

Efforts to develop a market pool in New York-New Jersey have taken longer than expected that’s largely due to the large number of participants involved. The discussion has included representatives of lessors, terminals, M&R contractors, trucking companies, and longshore labor.  At the moment agreement appears close on the two main unsettled issues — union jurisdiction over chassis maintenance and repair, and assurances that chassis providers can’t use the pool to manipulate supply and prices.

RCL Agencies will provide more information once available.

Port of Oakland is Back to Full-Speed After Labor Strife

The Port of Oakland is back operating at full speed after a summer of traffic jams and backlogs caused by a labor dispute earlier this year, according to officials.

The port reported no vessels at anchor waiting for berths at its five marine terminals for the sixth straight day after a summer-long buildup of ships in the San Francisco Bay. The number of vessels waiting to berth has been declining over the past three weeks, according to Maritime Director John Driscoll. “Ships are arriving in Oakland and going straight to berth – just what our customers need and how we expect the Port to operate every day” he added.

An influx of additional longshore labor over the past six weeks has helped eliminate the backlog, the port officials said. About 150 more dockworkers are joining the work force to accelerate vessel operations in Oakland. They’re being augmented by more than 300 casual or part-time workers. Another 30 marine clerk positions are being created as well.

However, the port warned that vessel backlogs could reoccur if more longshore labor is not added.  It could take another four-to-six weeks until labor reinforcements are in place.

Terminal operators have proposed a plan for opening their terminals on Saturday, proposing to the Federal Maritime Commission that they fund weekend operations via a fee collected on containers moving through the port during the day Monday through Friday.

Stay informed with RCL Agencies updates about global shipping and international ports.