Teamsters want overweight containers stopped

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The Teamsters are campaigning for legislation to be introduced in coastal states to stop overweight intermodal containers at the ports. The union hopes its Intermodal Container Safety Program legislation will be passed by states and later incorporated into federal law, says Jim Stewart of the union’s port division.

“Currently, sometimes the driver or trucking company gets written up, and the driver gets stuck with the fine,” Stewart says. “In some states, the fine goes on the driver’s Department of Motor Vehicles report, which can cause the driver’s insurance to go up.”

Shippers pay for containers based on volume and not weight, so the scales at marine terminals are not always replaced when they break or wear out, the Teamsters argue. Drivers who realize their containers are overweight have to return to lines at a terminal to wait for another container, adding unpaid work time to their schedule and sometimes risking their jobs, the Teamsters argue.

The Teamsters want terminal operators fined $500 for every overweight container they hand off. The Teamsters also want the operators to pay for any red-tagging, unloading and repacking the trucker deems necessary, as well as $100 per hour to compensate the trucker for his delay. If truckers are pulled by police for overweight loads, the Teamsters want the terminal operators to compensate the truckers $100 per hour for that lost time, too.

The Teamsters ask that people report crashes, old or new, caused by overweight containers to a toll-free number, 888-333-9428.