Red-tape parade: Oakland port to eye emissions plan

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line staff writer | 2/25/2008

Highly restrictive truck regulations advertised as environmentally friendly are spreading up the West Coast like wildfire – and appear to be growing more aggressive at each stop.

The Port of Long Beach in California adopted a port concessionaire plan on Tuesday, Feb. 19, requiring trucks to be port-approved, have authority, pay hundreds of dollars to be a concessionaire, and tag each truck with radio frequency identification.

The Port of Oakland is developing two truck-related emission reduction regulations, which it plans to consider this spring.

The Maritime Air Quality Improvement Plan has the goal of reducing 85 percent of port-related emissions by 2020. Many of the plan’s proposals call for highly restrictive truck measures such as requiring all trucks entering the port to be compliant with 2007 diesel truck emission standards by 2011.

The port’s Comprehensive Truck Management Plan aims to address congestion, parking enforcement, and designated truck routes to the port.

The proposed MAQIP includes the following measures:

  • Prohibit overnight truck parking in residential Oakland.
  • Use RFID to create paperless gate and Web-booking of calls.
  • Establish inland container pools away from ports.
  • Create electrified truck stop.
  • Create “concessionaires to establish maintenance and training programs to reduce maintenance.”

The Port of Oakland is seeking to reduce greenhouse gases and “other pollutants that cause health risks like diesel particulate matter,” said Libby Schaaf, the Port of Oakland’s director of public affairs.

“We’re simply committed to reducing our health impacts on our neighbors, increasing efficiency for everyone who works at the port, and ensuring the cargo continues to flow for the benefit of the whole country,” Schaaf told Land Line.

“We’re also deeply concerned about efficiency and trucker working conditions,” Schaaf said.

Although Long Beach adopted a plan convenient for locally run drayage truck operations to continue being independent, the Teamsters Union continues to support an employee-only driver plan being considered by the Port of Los Angeles.

Many Land Line readers and OOIDA members have expressed concern about getting shut out of ports that enact comprehensive port measures, even if they meet the latest emission standard.

Los Angeles port officials have said that a concessionaire system requiring licensing, annual payments, and coordination of truck maintenance is necessary. Port officials have said the concessionaire system is necessary to ensure that an estimated $2.2 billion in engine retrofit and upgrades would be going to trucks that needed it.

OOIDA has argued that the concessionaire rule is unconstitutional and specifically interferes with interstate commerce. Many critics of the programs have said it has more to do with the politics of personal labor than with clean air.

The Teamsters Union and the Natural Resources Defense Council – the labor and environmental groups who have come under fire for pushing an employee-only truck driver plan at the Port of Los Angeles – have helped the Port of Oakland work on its emissions plans, Schaaf said.

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer

Copyright © OOIDA