Port of LA to ban owner-operators by 2013

The Los Angeles Harbor Commission on Thursday, May 15, approved the Clean Truck Program Drayage Services Concession Agreement, setting the stage for the Port of Los Angeles to begin transitioning in October to a Licensed Motor Carrier (LMC)-based truck concession program. Assuming the program remains in place, by 2013 all drayage services would be provided by 100 percent employee drivers.

Although the transition period begins in October, the first milestone is Dec. 31, 2009, by which time each LMC must use employee drivers for 20 percent on average of its gate moves at the Port of Los Angeles. The minimum average jumps to 66 percent by Dec. 31, 2010, and rises to 85 percent and 95 percent at the end of 2011 and 2012, respectively.

The harbor commission believes that the concession agreement is needed to allow the port to hold carriers accountable for maintaining trucks and employing properly credentialed drivers. “That, in turn, will ensure a sufficient supply of drivers, improve truck safety and maintenance while lowering emissions, enhance port security and reduce the negative impacts that drayage services have on communities near the port,” the commission said in a news release.

Requiring drivers to be LMC employees will reduce the number of trucks needed by moving away from the current “one truck, one driver” system to one that increases efficiency by allowing multiple drivers to operate in multiple shifts, the commission said. The Port of Los Angeles also plans to ask its concessionaires to work with the port to develop technologies that track empty containers and match them with deliveries of loaded containers and to help develop effective schedule strategies that avoid congestion at terminal gates and optimize the use of drayage trucks.

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are working together on a plan to ensure that all drayage trucks serving the two ports meet 2007 federal emissions standards by Jan. 1, 2012. The ports are in sync on the schedule for phasing out older trucks, but the concession agreement approved recently by the Port of Long Beach does not ban independent contractors.

For more information on the Clean Truck Program at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, visit www.portofla.org and www.polb.com.