FMCSA to address port truckers about intermodal rule

| Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Owner-operators involved in port hauling have a chance to meet with an FMCSA official about the latest rules on intermodal chassis and other port issues.

The regular meeting of the Owner Operators Coalition of Virginia – which is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 8, in Norfolk, VA – is sure to be a big draw for port drivers. The coalition and OOIDA have arranged to bring in Jack Van Steenburg, director of the FMCSA Office of Enforcement and Compliance, to be the guest speaker.

The topic is the latest federal rule governing intermodal equipment providers, which was issued in December 2008 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and took effect June 17 of this year.

Port truckers view the rule as an important step to improving inefficiency and reducing driver detention time within a facility, but some are concerned about whether the rule has the necessary teeth to accomplish the goals.

The rule requires equipment providers to “establish a systematic inspection, repair, and maintenance program to assure the safe operating condition of each intermodal chassis,” provide documentation of their maintenance program, and to provide means “to effectively respond to driver and motor carrier reports about intermodal chassis mechanical defects and deficiencies.”

Joe Rajkovacz, regulatory specialist for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, plans on attending the meeting, scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Aug. 8, at the United Iron Workers Hall, 5307 E. Virginia Beach Blvd., Norfolk, VA.

“First and foremost, for the port drivers and members of OOIDA, this rulemaking can have a very significant impact on their livelihoods in terms of being able to more quickly be able to get on and off the ports,” Rajkovacz told Land Line.

“It is supposed to ensure that these drivers are getting roadable chassis from the ship lines, but there are questions as to whether that will really come to pass. That’s the concern of the drivers.”

Rajkovacz said the port drivers are hoping that Van Steenburg can provide the optimism they seek.

The Owner Operators Coalition of Virginia, or OOCVA, was founded in 2007 by port truckers working out of the Port of Virginia at Hampton Roads. OOCVA partners with OOIDA on issues such as industry representation, port efficiency and driver resources.

– By David Tanner, staff writer