California Ports Ban Owner Operators

Citing “rapid improvements in air quality,” the Los Angeles Harbor Commission approved the Clean Truck Program's Concession Agreement that will phase out owner operators at the port of Los Angeles by the end of 2013.

The program, which would require drayage services to use 100% employee drivers by the end of 2013 is to be phased in from October 2008. Port officials say it will allow them to hold the drayage companies accountable for truck maintenance (which will improve emissions) and driver credentials (which has a security benefit).

The Long Beach Press Telegram reported that over 85% of the 17,000 short-haul trucks operating at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are independent drivers.

In a letter to the Intermodal Carriers Conference of the American Trucking Associations, J. Christopher Lytle, deputy executive director of the Port of Long Beach, said, “It is clear our differences go to fundamental issues and not merely to details.” He went on to say that, “we do not believe that further meetings on the contents of the Long Beach concession agreement would be productive.”

This action, says the National Industrial Transportation League (NITL), would appear to clear the way for the American Trucking Associations (ATA) to start litigation challenging the concession agreement.

The concession agreement calls for 20% of the licensed motor carrier's fleet to be made up of employee drivers by the end of 2009, increasing to 66% by the end of 2010 and 85% by the end of 2011. By year end 2012, 95% of the drivers would have to be employees, and the remaining drivers would be required to be employees by the end of 2013.

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