Port of L.A.: ATA lawsuit won’t stop Clean Truck Program

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A lawsuit filed by the American Trucking Associations challenging the Port of Los Angeles’ right to implement a concession requirement for entry onto its terminals won’t stop other aspects of the Clean Truck Program, port officials said recently. Port officials say the lawsuit does not attack other aspects of the program, which intends to modernize the fleet of trucks servicing the Port of Los Angeles to reduce air emissions.

ATA, with the support of its Intermodal Motor Carriers Conference, filed suit in the U.S. District Court in California July 28 challenging the port concession plans as approved by the Cities of Los Angeles and Long Beach and their harbor commissions. The plans will limit access to the ports to only those trucking companies that have entered into concession contracts approved by the port program administrator.

The concession plans impose a broad range of operational requirements that create a regulatory environment very similar to state intrastate economic regulation, ATA argues; the ports have acknowledged that these intrusive regulatory systems will result in far fewer trucking companies being able to service the ports, reducing competition.

L.A. port officials say they are committed to responding to ATA’s challenge to its concession requirement in court, and that if the court issues an injunction temporarily halting the requirement, all other aspects of the program will move forward as planned. This means several key components will go into effect on Oct. 1, including:

  • All trucks entering Los Angeles and Long Beach port terminals must be registered on the ports’ Drayage Truck Registry;
  • Pre-1989 trucks will be banned from entering port terminals;
  • A Clean Trucks Fee will be levied against trucks entering Port of Los Angeles terminals that do not meet 2007 Environmental Protection Agency emissions standards; and
  • A federal Transportation Worker Identification Card (TWIC) will be required for all drivers to gain access onto port terminals.
  • “The ATA lawsuit is not a pass to ignore the in-place deadlines of the Clean Truck plan,” said Geraldine Knatz, Ph.D., executive director of the Port of Los Angeles. “Drayage trucking companies who are serious about doing business with the port would be prudent to continue on track to complete concessionaire applications, get their trucks registered on the system, make sure their drivers have TWIC cards and make sure they have no pre-1989 trucks in their port fleet that will be denied access on October 1.”

    L.A. port officials encourage Licensed Motor Carriers to prepare for Clean Truck Program requirements now – including the submission of concession applications – and that if the concession program is delayed due to legal action, Licensed Motor Carriers will receive a concession fee refund from the port. Additionally, applications for the Clean Truck Replacement and Retrofit Grants now are available; grant applications will be prioritized, and port officials say it is best to submit the applications as soon as possible.

    Regarding the concession requirement of off-street parking, the port is offering a six-month transition period – Oct. 1 through March 31, 2009 – during which legal on-street parking will be allowed.