L.A., Long Beach ports consider new container fee to generate $1.6 billion

| 12/12/2007

The twin ports at Los Angeles and Long Beach boast of handling 40 percent of the goods imported to the U.S., including many intermodal containers full of merchandise manufactured in Asia.

The prices on those goods may soon increase.

The Port of Long Beach Harbor Commission plans to consider on Monday, Dec. 17, approving a new fee of $35 per every 20-foot equivalent unit shipping container in order to raise $1.6 billion for a truck replacement program.

In addition, California state government plans to kick in $400 million and the ports will combine to add $143 million more for truck replacement, bringing the total to about $2.2 billion.

The influx of cash will help pay for retrofitting and replacing the oldest and dirtiest of 16,000 trucks that visit the twin ports daily.

Teresa Adams-Lopez, a spokesman for the Port of Los Angeles, told Land Line the fee will be $70 for most shipping containers, and will be assessed to the shipper or the consignee – not individual truckers.

“It’s an electronic transaction,” Adams-Lopez said. “It’s not the truckers’ thing.”

Officials for the Port of Los Angeles are scheduled to consider an identical plan at their meeting on Thursday, Dec. 20. The ports plan to consider requiring truck drivers to be company employees early next year.

Approved by officials at both ports in November, clean truck programs will ban pre-1989 trucks by fall 2008 and will ban by 2012 all trucks that don’t meet 2007 emission standards.

Environmental-based truck regulations at West Coast ports have been brewing for months.

The California Air Resources Board approved a statewide rule on Friday, Dec. 7 that bans all trucks that don’t meet 2007 emission standards by Dec. 31, 2013.

The Port of Seattle and Port of Tacoma plan to consider approving their own clean truck plan in January that would be in conjunction with the Port of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada.

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer