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CHAPTER 7 Marine Terminal Gate Processing Gate Capacity and Working Hours Marine container terminal gate throughput capacity is a function of the number of gates avail- able, the hours they are open, and the rate at which they process transactions. Marine terminals may have up to 16 gates divided between inbound (in-gates) and outbound (out-gates). It is common for some of the gates to be reversible to accommodate either inbound or outbound transactions. The number of gates is generally proportional to the expected transaction volume. An older facility whose expansion has not kept pace with trade growth may have too few gates. A large, new terminal planned for long-term growth may have an overabundance at low start-up business volumes. Marine terminal operators must decide how many gates to staff each day. Labor agreements may require additional clerks, supervisors, or relief workers to support the individual gate clerks. Gen- erally, union labor must be hired for a full shift, which makes it difficult for terminal operators to vary gate capacity during the day. Building and opening more gates seems the obvious way to reduce gate queues. As demand has increased, the number of entry gates has increased--both as entirely new terminals have been opened and as legacy facilities have been replaced. Remote adjunct chassis and container yards also have increased the number of gates available. Opening a larger number of gates to reduce queuing, however, could simply shift the delays from the gate to an increasingly congested CY. Some terminal appointment systems serve to ration CY capacity, with the number of available hourly appointment slots set to the hourly CY throughput limit. When Southern California terminals were pressured to reduce truck waiting times outside the gates, some reportedly responded by speeding up gates or opening more gates to get trucks into the terminal faster without reducing the total turn time--the trucks simply waited inside the ter- minal instead of outside. The use of OCR and video cameras for inspection has made it increasingly common for gate clerks to be located at computer terminals physically separated from the actual gates. Working in these remote locations also can allow a clerk to serve multiple gates. The span of gate hours matters, specifically one-shift gate hours versus extended gate hours. Single-shift gates usually open at 7:30 or 8:00 A.M. and close at 4:30 or 5:00 P.M. in some combi- nation. Extended hours can be earlier (e.g., opening at 6 A.M.), later (open until 6 P.M., or as late as 3 A.M. in some cases), or both. Longer gate hours do not completely eliminate queues, since there will always be a queue before the gates open in the morning. Longer gate hours do, however, reduce the size of the morning queue, effectively spreading the morning "start up" period over several hours. Longer gate hours 53