Ports asked to put off pollution plan

Calling the current strategy to retrofit and replace trucks moving goods through the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach “unfeasible,” the California Trucking Association

Calling the current strategy to retrofit and replace trucks moving goods through the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach “unfeasible,” the California Trucking Association (CTA) is calling on port officials to delay implementation of their Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP) for the time being.

The Intermodal Motor Carriers Conference (IMCC) is also voicing its opposition to the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach clean truck program, saying it could increase truck drayage rates by 80% as carriers scramble for ways to pay for the pollution control devices required for compliance.

The IMCC, part of the American Trucking Associations (ATA), sent a letter to the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) concerning both the destructive economic impacts and questionable legality of the program of the ports’ Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP).

Under the CAAP, motor carriers will have to apply for and be approved as licensed “concessionaires,” own their trucks, operate these trucks using only employee drivers, comply with a detailed truck retirement and retrofit program and pay an assortment of “dirty truck” and application fees – costs that could force many small and medium-sized motor carriers out of business, IMCC said.

In addition, CTA said the current Jan. 1, 2008 implementation date for the CAAP would disrupt goods moving into and out of the ports, thereby causing a serious destabilization to the supply chain and economy.

“Everyone in the supply chain needs time to prepare and adjust to the potential impacts of this plan,” noted C.J. Nord of the California Furniture Manufacturers Association, which supports the CTA’s efforts. “Asking for a public timetable is not an extraordinary request but an essential one to businesses, consumers and the health of our economy.”

Of particular concern among independent operators was the key provision in the port truck plan that would require truck drivers to become employees of a consolidated number of large concessionaires at the ports.

“The plan that is now under review has serious problems, particularly recognizing that local carriers won’t remain in the industry should the employee provision stand,” said Julie Sauls, CTA spokesperson. “The impact of a large loss of drivers that move goods into and out of the ports would be immediately felt and negatively impact the local and state economies.”

Currently, 1,300 motor carriers and 16,000 plus independent drivers provide intermodal drayage services to these facilities through which move over 40% of all containerized trade in the nation.

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