Long Beach, L.A. ports add day-pass system with $100 fee

| 9/5/2008

The Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles will allow long-haul truck drivers access to the ports 12 times annually through the use of a day-pass – with a catch:

Drivers will pay $100 per visit.

Officials with the twin ports approved similar clean truck programs aimed at cutting emissions from the estimated 16,000 older trucks that frequent the ports daily. In addition to the clean truck plan’s ban on older trucks, the plans require trucks entering the ports to be licensed concessionaires meeting a host of conditions.

The port officials announced in August that a day-pass system would be available for long-haulers to access the ports 12 times annually. Later, the ports added a fee of $100 – per trip.

OOIDA officials pushed for a way for the Association’s members – largely long-haul drivers – to have occasional port access without spending thousands on port concession requirements such as workman’s compensation and increased insurance.

“Long-haul truckers provide a vital service to the ports, and their trucks are already (emission) compliant,” said Rick Craig, OOIDA’s director of regulatory affairs. “Now, ironically, they will be expected to dig into their pockets to help clean up a mess that is none of their doing.”

Craig said OOIDA will continue discussions with port officials to improve access for long haulers.

“Our guys have to be able to get in and out of the ports,” Craig told Land Line. “Without a day-pass system, all trucks entering the ports must be licensed concessionaires.”

The day-pass fee would be higher than the port container fee of $35 per 20-foot equivalent of trailer, or $70 for most shipping containers, OOIDA’s regulatory affairs specialist Joe Rajkovacz pointed out.

“We certainly consider the $100 per day-pass to be an unjustified, overly expensive cost,” Rajkovacz said. “Much like clean trucks fees are charged by the port to the beneficial cargo owners, we believe any fee like this should also be billed by the port to the beneficial cargo owner as well.”

The Clean Truck Programs at both ports may be scuttled with legal battles.

The American Trucking Association has filed an injunction against the clean trucks programs through a civil lawsuit and expects a ruling on the matter after an early September hearing.

Both sides are scheduled to present their arguments before a federal judge Monday, Sept. 8.

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer