Maher's Saturday gates win temporary reprieve PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 16 July 2007

Updated July 16, 2007 2:28:16 PM
Joseph Bonney / The JOURNAL of COMMERCE ONLINE

NEWARK, N.J. -- Maher Terminals said it will keep its truck gates open on Saturdays for six more weeks but will evaluate traffic volumes before deciding whether to continue the weekend operations beyond Labor Day.

The company, which handles about half of the containers moving through the Port of New York and New Jersey, had announced last week that it was suspending operation of Saturday gates because traffic was insufficient to justify the added costs.

Sam Crane, Maher's senior vice president for external affairs, said the decision to keep the gates open for the six Saturdays through Aug. 25 was made after discussions with port drayage operators that were principal users of the Saturday gates.

Truckers had praised Maher's decision 18 months ago to become the first New York-New Jersey terminal to keep Saturday hours at its truck gates. But Crane said business for the Saturday gates has been disappointing.

He said, for example, that between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. July 10, about 2,600 containers moved through the terminal's truck gates. "On our best Saturday during June, we handled 288," Crane said. "The volume just isn't there."

Maher continues to keep its truck gates open weeknights until 10 p.m. Crane said gate traffic on weeknights also has been disappointing but is above Saturday volumes.

Truckers say a primary reason for their lackluster support of after-hours gates is that other terminals haven't followed Maher's lead. That means a driver can't combine an after-hours pickup or delivery at Maher with one at another terminal on the same trip.

Some other New York-New Jersey terminals have experimented with late hours on gates. Global Terminals in Bayonne told truckers last week it would keep gates open until 7 p.m. weekdays, and will evaluate usage to determine whether to continue the late hours.

At the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the PierPass program charges a fee for daytime gate moves and uses the revenue to subsidize the operations of night and weekend gates at all terminals. About 40 percent of those ports' gate moves now are handled after regular hours.

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