Logistics company officials address port issues behind closed doors

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line staff writer | 4/30/2008

Proposals to restructure port operations are hitting ports throughout the northwest, and trucking company leaders are privately pitching ways to address such proposed changes.

In the past week, several officials from trucking companies with operations in California, Nevada, Washington and Oregon met privately to discuss their legal options and possible responses to the growing number of ports that are approving and proposing new environmental regulations.

Several California ports moved closer to implementing new emission-cutting regulations in February and March, though pending political and legal battles are likely to slow enactment of the regulations.

  • The Port of Oakland approved unspecified container fees that will fund $520 million of emissions-cutting programs. The port plans to consider a port employee-driver plan later in the spring.
  • The Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles will ban trucks with pre-1989 engines by October and all trucks that don’t meet 2007 emissions standards by 2012. Each port recently approved concessionaire plans with licensing fees and other restrictions, though Los Angeles is requiring drivers to be company drivers. Port of Los Angeles officials have said they’ll create a system to allow long-haulers to make occasional port calls.

“They’re acting as if the supply chain has to bear the costs of this and that’s pure BS,” said Joe Rajkovacz, OOIDA’s regulatory affairs specialist.

Rajkovacz – who has met with port officials and addressed the Port of Los Angeles Harbor Commission – pointed to more than $2 billion in funds set aside for truck replacement and retrofits as well as $200 million designated for similar replacements by the California Air Resources Board.

“These people aren’t going to have any problem grabbing free money but they certainly want to maintain a system in which they act as if they’re free marketers,” Rajkovacz said. “They’re anything but.”

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer

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