Trucking companies face port fines

Trucking companies facing fines for not returning shipping containers to West Coast port terminals during an almost two-week-long dock shutdown lost a bid yesterday for emergency relief, The Oakland Tribune reported today. At issue is whether the shippers have a right to fine truckers for not delivering or picking up containers, even though the ports were closed. Trucking companies are worried that

Trucking companies facing fines for not returning shipping containers to West Coast port terminals during an almost two-week-long dock shutdown lost a bid yesterday for emergency relief,The Oakland Tribune reported today.

At issue is whether the shippers have a right to fine truckers for not delivering or picking up containers, even though the ports were closed. Trucking companies are worried that the fines, coupled with the 12-day port lockout, could drive them out of business.

Normally, truckers have about five days to return shipper-owned containers and trailers, before fines ranging from $100 to $200 a day per container are levied. Many usually make the deadline, but the 12-day shutdown made it impossible to do so.

In addition, many truckers still cannot deliver containers on time, due to long delays at backed-up terminals.

The California Trucking Assn. has started a campaign to have the fines cancelled out, asking Gov. Gray Davis to declare a state of emergency at the state's ports. Such an action would then give the state the power to erase the fines.

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