Northwest Seaport Alliance managing members decided this week to again fund extended gate hours at their international container terminals during peak season, which starts in a week.

They agreed to reimburse up to $2 million to help the private sector marine terminal operators avoid congestion on surface streets in the port industrial areas, and keep import and export cargo flowing efficiently.

During last year’s peak season, which is typically third quarter of the year when so much Christmas shopping related cargo enters from Asian producers, operators added about 70 to 90 hours per week, which accounted for 8- to 10 percent of the total gate volumes for Tacoma and Seattle terminals.

On Commencement Bay, Husky Terminal, East Sitcum Terminal (formerly Olympic Container), Pierce County Terminal and Washington United Terminal will see benefits from the extended hours program.

By using extended gate hours, truck drivers can reduce their time spent in traffic, which also helps reduce air emissions from idling and saves fuel. Off-shift gates are after 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or any shift on Saturday and Sunday.

The program is one more way that NWSA seeks to be the easiest gateway through which to do business.