The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit overturned a controversial ban on owner-operators at the Port of Los Angeles, a decision the American Trucking Assns. (ATA) hailed as a “decisive victory for the trucking industry and consumers.”
“By striking down the port’s unjustified ban on owner-operators, the court has upheld the rights of trucking companies to structure their businesses to maximize efficiency and productivity” ATA president & CEO Bill Graves said. “By throwing out the ban, the court has ensured that competition, not government regulation, will establish motor carrier’s rates, routes and services. This is a win for all involved; trucking companies; small business owner-operators; freight shippers; and ultimately average American consumers. The historic gains in air quality at the port clearly show that the interests of clean air have been served without running independent contractors out of the port.”
“This plan was never about clean air, it was about promoting special interests of a few well-connected, labor groups,” Graves said. “Successful clean trucks plans in Long Beach, Seattle and the Ports of New York and New Jersey have shown you can improve air quality without forcing owner-operators out of your port.”
The ATA challenged the port’s authority to enact and enforce a ban on owner-operators, and by unanimous decision the court agreed. However the panel did uphold several comparatively minor regulatory port requirements relating to truck parking, financial capability, maintenance and placard requirements.
“We are evaluating the rest of the court’s ruling,” said ATA chief counsel Robert Digges. “While the court upheld our argument on the central issue, we will be deciding whether a further appeal is warranted. We firmly believe the other challenged provisions of the Concession Agreement should have been preempted as explained in a strong dissent by the panel’s Chief Judge. Should we appeal, that dissent will be very helpful to our effort.”