New Jersey bills tackle loading delays at ports, road safety

| Friday, July 06, 2007

A couple of bills in the New Jersey statehouse are intended to improve port operations and safety on roadways.

Truckers forced to wait in line at ports to load or unload are the subject of a bill offered by Sen. Bernard Kenny, D-Hoboken. The bill – S2217 – would prohibit ports from making a truck wait longer than 30 minutes before beginning loading or off-loading container cargo at a terminal.

Terminal operators would be subject to a $250 fine for making a truck wait longer than 30 minutes, and each delayed truck would be a separate violation.

Terminals attempting to avoid requirements in the bill by diverting a truck to area roadways, alternate staging areas or forcing them to wait inside the gate would be subject to a $750 fine.

The bill would exempt terminals that maintain a fully staffed gate two hours before and after peak commuter hours in the morning and afternoon, at least 5 days a week. It has remained in the Senate Transportation Committee since it was introduced.

Another measure offered by Kenny also is sitting in committee. It would require terminals to ensure containers are not overweight or improperly loaded.

Under S2216, an ocean marine terminal found to be violating the order would face $500 in fines, per occurrence.

Terminal operators would be forced to weigh each intermodal container upon the container’s arrival at the terminal. Overweight containers would be allowed to either be repacked at the port or returned to the sender.

In the event of repacking, the terminal operator would be forced to pay a trucker at the rate specified in the contract plus $100 per hour that the container is detained. If a truck departs a terminal with an overweight container and is later stopped by state officials, the terminal operator would be required to pay the trucker at the rate specified in the contract plus $100 per hour that the container is detained.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor

keith_goble@landlinemag.com

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