Port checks coming, not everybody happy

| 1/19/2009

The Port of Los Angeles recently issued an $8.24 million check to Swift Transportation as part of its agreement with the megacarrier, and some midrange motor carriers aren’t happy.

The port is distributing $44 million in incentive checks as part of its agreement with 107 different motor carriers that are licensed concessionaires through the port’s Clean Truck Program.

The Clean Truck Program’s most publicized effort banned pre-1989 trucks on Oct. 1, and by 2012 will bar any truck that doesn’t meet 2007 emissions standards. Long-haul trucks may apply for a day-pass to get into the port.

However, concessionaires that have already agreed to deploy new, privately funded clean trucks in advance of the clean truck program requirements can receive $20,000 for each 2007 emissions-compliant truck used at the port.

Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Geraldine Knatz said in a statement that the checks answer the promise that motor carriers made to the port.

“In these tough economic times, we are especially gratified to distribute incentive payments to the many local, small and medium-sized trucking companies that have served our port for decades,” Knatz said. “These companies have made significant investments to purchase more than 2,200 low-emission trucks with the goal of participating in a future trucking system that is greener, safer and more efficient.”

The checks haven’t made everyone happy.

According to The Cunningham Report, a shipping news Web site available at
www. cunninghamreport.com, Brian Griley of Southern Counties Express, said it isn’t fair that Swift received its check before other companies that participated.

“It doesn’t seem like it’s fair when everybody put their documents in at the same time,” Griley told The Cunningham Report.”

Joe Rajkovacz, OOIDA regulatory affairs specialist, said drayage rates have been compromised by the sheer amount of free money and trucks being handed out to certain companies. Besides the $20,000 per truck program, the twin ports at Los Angeles and Long Beach are shelling out a combined $2 billion to motor carriers as part of the ports’ truck replacement program.

“It’s awfully, awfully tough for anybody to compete with somebody that’s being subsidized,” Rajkovacz said. “It’s also tough to empathize with some of the motor carriers out there who already received free trucks and are complaining about other carriers taking money. Most owner-operators aren’t getting anything at all.”

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer