As 2018 comes to a close, we would like to provide you with a short briefing on some of the changes coming to the Pacific Northwest in 2019.
The Northwest Seaport Alliance Clean Truck Program
The final deadline for the clean truck program will arrive on December 31, 2018. Starting January 1, 2019, all trucks calling the terminals in Seattle, WA, and Tacoma, WA will be required to have 2007, or newer, EPA compliant emissions systems. Trucks not properly equipped will be denied access. The Northwest Seaport Alliance has been steadfast and clear that there will not be another extension. Coinciding and supporting this program, all trucks calling the gateway in both Seattle and Tacoma will be required to have RFID transponders affixed. It takes 2-3 weeks to get an RFID tag. Portland Container is 100% compliant for all trucks tasked with service in the Puget Sound gateway.
You can read our initial detailed write-up on the Clean Truck Program by clicking here.
Terminal 18 Night Gate Program – Seattle, WA
Terminal 18 has outlined a plan to add permanent night gates, Monday through Thursday, to its operation. The proposed funding mechanism for these gates will be based on the current program used in Oakland, CA. All loaded containers will be assessed a $30 fee. Empties will not be assessed a charge. Import containers will be required to be paid before the container can out-gate. Export containers will be allowed to in-gate before the fee is paid. However, it will be required that payment is remitted within a few days of the in-gate. As outlined during outreach meetings that occurred on December 4th and 6th, SSA Terminal 18 believes, hopes, and intends for the Beneficial Cargo Owner to remit the payments as required. The expected roll out timeline of the night gate program is Q1 of 2019.
We believe properly executed the proposed night gate program could flatten the demand curve and reduce overall congestion at the terminal. In addition to the night gate program, Terminal 18 plans to also add additional RTG crane capacity during the first quarter of 2019.
Husky Terminal – Tacoma, WA
Husky has faced several challenges in the last quarter of 2018, much of them rooted in severe weather at sea. We have also seen Husky make great efforts to mitigate the effects of off pro forma vessels by offering extended, night, and weekend gates when feasible. With the completion of the dock straightening project in 2018. We are very pleased to hear that Husky is looking to add three additional RTG cranes in 2019 as part of their continued effort to increase efficiency and capacity. As part of trying to build capacity, Husky continues to execute on their strategy of off-dock and alternate dock locations for empty returns. The dwell time numbers in the chart below do not reflect the time required to return containers to an alternate location.
Congestion at the terminals in the Puget Sound gateway has been a hot topic throughout 2018. We have seen periods of extreme delays and periods of high efficiency. Each terminal has faced challenges specific to them and challenges driven by factors out of their control. Below is a chart illustrating the average weekly congestion faced by Portland Container in 2018. In the coming months, there will be additional non-terminal based congestion issues, some of which we bellow outlined here. Portland Container will continue to charge congestion using our data-based approach into 2019. As part of this we are closely tracking the impacts of non-terminal based delays and at some point may need to adjust charges to reflect this new paradigm. As always, we will be as transparent as possible. You can review a complete history of our congestion charges by clicking here.
Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Project
Opening Seattle’s new SR 99 tunnel early next year will set the stage for the biggest transformation of Seattle’s central waterfront in a generation. The demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct is scheduled to begin in February 2019 and take approximately six months to complete, as work crews move along the structure, removing it section by section. Closing SR 99 through downtown Seattle for approximately three weeks will cause major disruptions to traffic throughout the region. Roughly 90,000 cars per day travel SR 99, all of this traffic will be routed alternate surface streets, which are primary trucking routes. You can read more by clicking here.
Tacoma Area Construction
There are more than a dozen projects planned in Pierce County during 2019, most of which will have some effect on driver efficiency in the coming months. Several including the Port of Tacoma road project which without question will have a direct impact on intermodal and drayage operations. You can read more by clicking here.
Port of Portland
Port of Portland in partnership with BNSF has established a rail service between the Seattle and Tacoma terminals and Terminal 6. This service has found its rhythm and now become a part of the logistics landscape in the Oregon and SW Washington market.
Portland Container 2019
Thank you to those of you who completed our End of Year Survey. Your opinions and thoughts are very important to Portland Container. We noticed a few changes from 2017 to 2018. Over the coming months, we will use this data to help shape our operations and build out services.
Among the changes coming in 2019 will be an additional gate facility in our west yard and development of a 10-acre expansion which will provide additional wheeled storage and truck parking. We will also be rolling out an online Track and Trace portal for our Container Yard operations as well as an expanded web portal for our trucking customers. These are just a few of the operational and experiential improvements expected in the coming year.