Long Beach port’s truck restriction perplexes Los Angeles

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line staff writer | Thursday, February 21, 2008

Truckers waiting for the other shoe to drop in the “clean truck program” that was engineered by the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles are going to have to wait a bit longer.

Despite the adoption of the plan by the Port of Long Beach’s harbor commission, the neighboring Port of Los Angeles didn’t even have the topic on its harbor commission agenda at Thursday’s meeting.

The Port of Long Beach commission unanimously approved a concessionaire plan on Tuesday, Feb. 19, that requires truckers meet a series of conditions, including:

  • Pay $250 application fee and $100 per truck each year;
  • Tag trucks with radio frequency identification devices;
  • Agree to port-approved scheduled maintenance;
  • Agree to anti-terrorism cab inspection;
  • Gain port approval as a licensed concessionaire; and
  • Be a licensed motor carrier.

Los Angeles harbor commissioners met Thursday but didn’t plan on discussing the concessionaire regulation. The port has no timetable prepared for consideration of its truck licensing/concessionaire program, according to Gordon Smith, a spokesman for the Port of Los Angeles, told Land Line.

“We’re not ready to move forward with a decision yet,” Smith said.

The concessionaire plan was the final piece of a three-part “clean truck plan” with the announced intention of cutting pollution from the smoggy port areas.

Both of the twin ports seemed to work together to develop the San Pedro Bay Ports’ Clean Air Action Plan over the last two years, each approving $35 per 20-foot equivalent unit of shipping containers to help raise more than $2 billion for new truck engines and retrofits, as well as banning older trucks beginning in fall 2008.

In recent months, however, Long Beach harbor commissioners questioned the need to allow only employee-only truck drivers entrance into the ports and Los Angeles port officials made comments supporting the employee provision – which also was supported by the Teamsters Union and some environmental groups.

Smith pointed out a statement the Port of Los Angeles released late this past week after Long Beach prepared to approve its concessionaire program.
“The Port of Los Angeles is committed to continuing to work with the Port of Long Beach on the Clean Trucks Program and other initiatives related to the San Pedro Bay Ports' Clean Air Action Plan,” the statement reads. “The long-term sustainability of a green port drayage system is an integral part of the Clean Trucks Program. In the upcoming weeks, we will provide our Board with the best possible recommendations to achieve this important goal.”
“We’re just not quite ready to move forward,” Smith told Land Line.

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