Officials approve container fee at port of L.A. to buy clean engines

| 12/21/2007

The Port of Los Angeles has approved the second part of a three-phased plan for cutting truck emissions, and new container fees will pay part of the bill.

The Harbor Commission approved a $35 fee on Thursday, Dec. 20, for every 20 feet of loaded equivalent cargo container leaving the port beginning on June 1, 2008.

“One giant step at a time we move ahead to achieve a revolutionary change in port drayage,” said Commission President David Freeman.

In November, the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach approved clean truck programs that ban pre-1989 trucks by the fall of 2008. The new regs will ban all trucks that don’t meet 2007 emission standards by 2012.

Port officials plan to use the revenue from the container fees to purchase $1.6 billion of new trucks, truck engines and retrofits in order to clean up one of California’s dirtiest shipping ports. The Port of Long Beach adopted an identical plan at its Harbor Commission meeting Monday, Dec. 17.

Also, in early December, the California Air Resources Board approved its own ban on older trucks. It begins phasing in on Dec. 31, 2009, and will ban by Dec. 31, 2013, all trucks that don’t meet 2007 emission standards.

OOIDA leaders have met with officials from the twin ports at Los Angeles and Long Beach to express concerns about a Teamsters-backed amendment to the clean truck program that would ban truck drivers who aren’t company employees. That plan also would limit companies allowed into the ports to a specific list of licensed concessionaires, which could bar many long-haulers from making port drops.

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are scheduled to consider those additional measures in either January or February 2008, a Port of Los Angeles spokesman recently confirmed to Land Line.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa hinted at political pressure for the ports to adopt those pieces of the teamsters-backed plan.

“With the financial groundwork laid, it’s now time to push forward on the rest,” Villaraigosa said in a statement.

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer