IMCC urges FMC to intervene in ports’ clean truck program

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The Intermodal Motor Carriers Conference, in a letter sent to the Federal Maritime Commission today, Oct. 4, expressed its strong opposition to the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach clean truck program, which the ports predict will increase drayage rates by 80 percent.

The letter from IMCC, part of the American Trucking Associations, detailed IMCC’s concerns regarding both the economic impacts and legality of the program revealed in the ports’ discussions and planning activities for implementing its Clean Air Action Plan.

IMCC also endorsed the concerns raised by the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association and the National Industrial Transportation League in a letter the groups sent Sept. 26 to FMC. The groups, which expressed their opposition to the ports plan and actions, requested that FMC also intervene to prevent implementation of the CAAP, which PMSA and NITL described as an “ill-advised and unlawful proposal.”

IMCC reaffirmed that if the ports approve and act to implement CAAP in its current form, it will seek corrective action in U.S. District Court and before the commission.

The L.A.-Long Beach port complex is the largest in the United States. Currently, 1,300 motor carriers and 16,000-plus independent owner-operator drivers provide intermodal drayage services to these facilities, through which moves more than 40 percent of all containerized trade in the nation.

Under the CAAP, motor carriers will have to apply for and be approved as licensed “concessionaires,” own their trucks, operate these trucks using only employee drivers, comply with a detailed truck retirement and retrofit program, and pay an assortment of “dirty truck” and application fees, according to IMCC.

According to the ports’ own recent economic impact study, implementation of the CAAP would greatly reduce port trucking competition, raise drayage rates by 80 percent and force many small and medium-sized motor carriers out of business, IMCC states.

Officials with the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have said the program is aimed at reducing diesel truck emissions by 80 percent by replacing older rigs with newer, cleaner-burning trucks. Geraldine Knatz, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, and Richard Steinke, executive director of the Port of Long Beach, responded to the allegations in a joint letter issued Thursday, Sept. 27, to FMC.

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Knatz and Steinke argued that the allegations were premature, noting that final details of the clean truck program still are being hammered out. “Until the final elements of the clean truck program have been decided upon by the commissioners of the two ports, we cannot address with precision the local, state and federal regulatory implications of the clean truck program,” they wrote.

“PMSA and the NIT League appear to be eager to litigate by correspondence to an abstraction,” they wrote. “Given the complexity of the issues