Choosing Up Sides at California Ports

Associations, legal entities and truckers are among those getting involved in the controversial program to be instituted at the nation’s busiest ports aimed at significantly lowering emissions and regulating drivers.

The action was the American Trucking Associations (ATA) filing suit against the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach asking for a temporary restraining order to block implementation of regulations that would force trucks and truckers to meet statutes of their Clean Truck Program as licensed concessionaires. Part of the Program requires that trucks entering the ports meet 2007 engine emissions standards by the end of 2012.

In reaction the ports filed legal opposition to the ATA suit, saying that it was without basis for three reasons. First, claim the ports, the statute cited by the ATA doesn’t apply to the tidelands property on which the ports are located. Second, the ports claim they are landholders and as commercial enterprises, “in the business of providing world-class port facilities and services.” Third, that the statute doesn’t apply to actions that speak to the safety and security of the ports, “which are also among the major goals of the Clean Truck Program concession requirement.”

Before the suit and response is heard before the US District Court for the Central District of California, two major national trucking companies—Swift Transportation and Knight Transportation—signed letters of intent to become concessionaires at the Port of Los Angeles under the terms of the Clean Truck Program.

Standing on the side of the ports, National Retail Systems (NRS) has also filed a letter of intent to comply with the Clean Truck Program. The third-party logistics provider has said that beginning October 1—the date the ports intend to implement the Program—it will deploy a fleet with capacity to handle 70,000 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units) in imports per year. It has plans to increase that fleet to handle 300,000 TEU imports per year by the end of 2009.

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