Two of the Port of Long Beach's largest container terminals closed truck gates for the day shift on Monday, raising alarm bells.
Total Terminals International and Pacific Container Terminal were closed as of Monday afternoon, according to Lee Peterson, a spokesperson for the Port of Long Beach. The port's other four terminals remained open.
"Operators of those terminals made the decision to close based on operational needs, and will reopen for the evening shift," Executive Director Mario Cordero said in a statement.
The two terminals had alerted truckers of plans to shut down access to truck gates on Monday ahead of schedule, Harbor Trucking Association CEO Matt Schrap told Supply Chain Dive. But the decisions still limit truckers' ability to effectively plan, even though night-side gates are open.
Pacific Container Terminals had alerted truckers of a June 5 shift closure as of last week, Schrap said. But on Monday, the company suddenly announced it would also be closed for the day shift on Tuesday, according to a broadcast email shared with Supply Chain Dive.
Similarly, TTI gave truckers one day notice for its closure. The terminal updated its schedule on Sunday to indicate that truck gates would be closed for Monday’s day shift, which typically operates from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.
The sudden closures raised concern from some industry observers, who warned congestion or other issues could follow if disruptions were to continue throughout the week. The news came days after an ongoing labor dispute led to snarled terminal operations across several West Coast ports Friday.
However, it was not clear on Monday whether the truck gate closures at TTI and PCT were directly related to the ongoing contract negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association.
The terminal was closed “due to operational needs,” port spokesperson Lee Peterson told Supply Chain Dive in a Sunday night email. “They have caught up on their cargo and they won’t need to work a vessel tomorrow.
The Port of Long Beach remains open on Monday, Peterson added. TTI’s website and port dispatch records suggest terminals remain operational, even if truck gates are closed.
The terminal currently has three vessels, which arrived over the weekend but are not expected to depart until at least June 8. Dispatch records show longshore gangs, or groups of workers, were assigned to the three ships on Monday morning, but it will take several more days to finish work on the ship. However, all goods should already be in the terminal, since the cutoff date for truckers to bring containers destined for the ship has already passed.
For truckers, though, any change to truck gate schedules can cause ripple effects.
Ian Weiland, chief operating officer of Junction Collaborative Transports, said on LinkedIn all appointments for import load pickups during the day would be rescheduled as a result of the gate change. He added any empty containers destined for the terminal Monday would also have to be redirected, which could cause issues.
“All empties can NOT jam into one terminal at the same time across the entire Port Complex, AKA expect extended street days on MSC and Maersk empties for the near future,” Weiland wrote.
The Port of Los Angeles also saw some disruption at its Fenix Marine Services terminal on Monday, and is closing gates for the afternoon, Phillip Sanfield, the port's director of media relations and strategic communications, told Supply Chain Dive.
"Not sure what the issue is there," Sanfield said, noting all other terminals had labor, and were fully operational.
A live feed of the truck gates showed no trucks were in line at Fenix Marine Services' truck gates at around 2 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.