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.