California DOT Issuing Temporary Permits in Hopes to Help Reduce Container Backlogs at Ports

The California Department of Transportation said on Wednesday November 17th, they were going to begin issuing temporary permits to allow trucks carrying heavier loads of up to 88,000 pounds for important loads on the state highway system. This is an attempt to help alleviate the congestion at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The permits will be valid until June 30..

According to American Shipper, this increased truck limit will apply to the entire state highway system, including interstate routes, for moves between ports and distribution centers in California. CalTrans stated they began accepting applications to go beyond the current 80,000-pound gross vehicle weight limit last Friday and cities and countries can issue their own permits for travel on local roads.

One of the reasons for the limitations on preventing the reductions of imported containers in Southern California is the limited availability of trucks and chassis. Being able to allow trucks to pull more cargo per trip would improve efficiency and get more volume moved faster to distribution however, there is no way to top off shipping boxes with more cargo because they are pre-loaded and sealed at overseas origin points in compliance with ocean shipping and U.S. highway weight limits, according to American Shipper.

Matt Schrap, CEO of the Harbor Trucking Association does not think these new permits will help clear the congestion at the ports in any way. In fact, he thinks it will not have any impact on what’s happening right now stating, “there is no mechanism that is going to assist this backlog relative to weight. For us, at the end of the day, it’s not about having heavier containers. It’s about getting the empty containers out of there. That is the issue.” He’s grateful that people are trying to come up with unique solutions, but at the end of the day they need to have more realistic approaches in order to clear this bottleneck.

Earlier in November, the California Division of Motor Vehicles expanded capacity to administer driving tests, with adding three additional offices that are offering commercial driving test appointments, along with increasing weekend hours and shifting examiners from other parts of the state to Southern California. Again, this is another solution to try and help the congestion at the ports in Southern California. While something is better than doing nothing, what impact these two things (and more) have going forward is something only time can tell. Contact a team member today if you’d like to learn more!

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