THE price for container truck access through the gates of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach under the PierPass regime will increase 20 per cent to US$60 per TEU from July 4.
A year from now, the "traffic mitigation fee" will be "adjusted" annually based on changes in Pacific Maritime Association costs.
Other options were considered, reported London's Containerisation International, including decreasing services or instituting a fee on off-peak cargo. Increasing the rate was thought to be the least disruptive, said the report.
The decision was announced by the West Coast Marine Terminal Operators Agreement (WCMTOA), citing labour costs they say increased 31 per cent, according to PierPass, a non-profit organisation.
Terminals say they have operated the off-peak gates at a loss since the scheme began in 2005, with the shortfall between TMF revenues and off peak gate costs reaching $52.3 million in 2010.
Adding night shifts in 2005 increased costs because night labour rates are much higher than daytime rates. But "with 55 per cent of cargo movements taking place during off peak hours, the programme has become an important element of port operations," said PierPass president Bruce Wargo.