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Port of LA to Test Cargomatic Service, Seeks to Speed Freight Movement


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Transport Topics / June 8, 2015

The Port of Los Angeles, the largest U.S. container cargo facility, announced testing of a load-matching service that is designed to speed container cargo shipments through the port.

The agreement was made with Cargomatic Inc., a Venice Beach, California-based company that also is advancing efforts to match package and less-than-truckload shipments after it was launched last year.

The initial target is 1,000 container moves per week.

Last year, Los Angeles port terminals handled more than 80,000 loads on average each week.

Cargomatic markets its highway shipment approach as similar to Uber’s ride-sharing service. The port service, known as Cargomatic “Free Flow,” is designed for participation by any cargo owner, motor carrier or owner-operator. “We’re an operating system,” said Chief Operating Officer Brett Parker, a co-founder of Cargomatic. “We provide the technology and do all the coordination between shippers and carriers so cargo can get where it needs to go.”

The new program is being offered at the West Basin Container Terminal, with participation by terminal operator Ports America. Customers served include retailers such as Williams Sonoma.

Cargomatic checks drivers to ensure proper licensing, insurance and other qualifications, including compliance with the Uniform Intermodal Interchange and Facilities Access Agreement, which is managed by the Intermodal Association of North America.

The port’s statement said a smartphone is used to document the pickup and delivery, with rates set by Cargomatic, which committed to paying the drivers or companies in eight to 15 days.

The program also includes other Los Angeles area cargo terminals and the Port of New York and New Jersey, according to the California port’s statement.

Steps to speed cargo shipments by private companies and trade groups previously have focused on other portions of the shipping process, including chassis management and gate procedures.

Congestion and delays peaked earlier this year during the latter stages of contract talks between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. Slowdowns preceded labor talks and persisted because of the advent of larger ships and vessel-sharing that has taxed terminal-handling capability.

“We have forged an important relationship between Cargomatic and the Port of Los Angeles that will help our city effectively compete in today’s technology-driven marketplace,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The load-matching move was announced amid other attempts to improve shipment handling.

Earlier this month, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) introduced legislation that would give state governors, rather than the president, the ability to help resolve port labor disputes by intervening to impose a settlement. Presidential action wasn’t used to resolve the most recent talks that consumed more than nine months, but a tentative deal was reached after Labor Secretary Tom Perez told the parties to settle or face having the talks moved to Washington from San Francisco.

Related reading: http://www.bigmacktrucks.com/index.php?/topic/40220-uber-like-app-cargomatic-bringing-truckers-more-business/?hl=cargomatic

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Southern California Port Truckers Say Inspection Program Causing Congestion

Heavy Duty Trucking / June 8, 2015

The California Trucking Association recently came out against a new chassis equipment inspection process at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, saying they are causing congestion problems, according to a report in the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

The inspections are carried out by members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, who approve chassis and trailers at the port for roadability. This step slows down the process for drivers finding a chassis to carry out cargo, causing truckers to have to wait, according to the CTA.

The trucking association attacked the practice in a statement saying the inspections inefficient and unnecessary. It called for the ILWU and Pacific Maritime Association to work with the trucking community to resolve the issue. The CTA represents more than 200 trucking companies that service ports across California.

"The PMA and ILWU both claim they want to work to resolve congestion, but the implementation of inefficient, unnecessary chassis inspections says otherwise,” said Alex Cherin, executive director fo the Intermodal Conference of the CTA. “Chassis should be repaired and inspected before they are provided to truckers, not after.”

Responding to the statement in the Press-Telegram, a representative of the ILWU said that the inspection program was necessary for safety. Chassis inspection and repair was a major point of contention in the labor negotiations between the ILWU and PMA that caused work stoppages at the ports earlier this year, according to an early report.

In the meantime, the CTA says it is looking at the legality of ILWU inspections and is seeking input from federal regulators on the matter.

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