Bill would prevent port terminals from charging truckers 'late fees'

| 1/6/2005

A bill just introduced in the California Senate would prohibit the owners of some intermodal equipment from charging truckers late fees.

The bill, SB45, was introduced Jan. 5 by Sen. Richard Alarcon, D-San Fernando Valley, the majority whip in California’s upper legislative chamber.

The bill declares that “termination, suspension or restriction of equipment interchange rights without prior judicial action is contrary to the public policy of the state of California.”

It specifically would prohibit intermodal marine equipment providers or marine terminal operators from imposing per diem, detention or demurrage charges on intermodal motor carriers.

Many of the drivers that use port- or terminal-owned equipment – such as containers and container chassis – at California ports are owner-operators.

Under the bill, ports or terminals could not charge truckers the “late fees” if the terminal gate is closed; if the terminal chooses to divert the truck to a new destination without “proper notification,” which the bill defines as seven days; if the intermodal equipment is not in compliance; and in a number of other circumstances.