When the sun goes down over the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, the OffPeak program initiated by PierPass goes to work to reduce congestion, help clean up air pollution and improve throughput at the nation's busiest marine terminals. By encouraging carriers to access the ports during “off-peak” nighttime hours, it has improved business during the busy daylight hours and benefited the nearby communities impacted by port activity as well.

OffPeak is a success story that deserves telling and a model for other busy facilities looking for opportunities to improve efficiency, according to Bruce Wargo, president & CEO of PierPass Inc. “OffPeak has become a core element at ports on the West Coast,” he told Fleet Owner. “I'm awfully proud of it and the value it adds. More than 63,000 trucks go through our ‘night gate’ at the ports every week. We've added extra capacity by adding velocity, and we've reduced congestion and contributed to improved air quality in the process.”

PierPass is a nonprofit organization created by marine terminal operators at the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles and OffPeak was created by PierPass in 2005. The program works by requiring cargo owners hauling into and out of the ports during the day to pay a “traffic mitigation fee” to help pay for the operation of what Wargo calls “the night gate.”

The per-container fees ($50 for each 20-ft. container and $100 for a 40-ft. container) are all handled electronically over the Internet. Companies pay no fees for containers moved at night. According to Wargo, the container fees cover about 85% of the cost of the nighttime operation.