The International Warehouse Logistics Association (IWLA) announced that it strongly opposes proposed legislation in California that would make that state's ports and the jobs they provide uncompetitive with other West Coast, Gulf, Canadian and Mexican ports.
The bill under consideration in the state assembly, called AB 950 - Perez and Swanson, would mandate that only one form of labor – employee drivers – may transport truck shipments into and out of the ports of California. The legislation would ban self-employed owner-operators from trucking containers into and out of the California ports.
Most of the truck transportation of ocean-going containers in and out of California ports is performed by self-employed truckers who lease their services to port service providers.
IWLA President and CEO Joel D. Anderson said, "Much of California's tax revenues and wealth creation come from international trade and commerce that streams through its ports. While the rest of the nation competes for these jobs, this bill would take the opposite approach by being openly hostile to new jobs and trade activity."
Anderson added: "Should California enact this legislation, it will have the only ports in the United States that mandate that truck owner-operators cannot participate in the movement of freight. The cost impact of restricting competition and granting cartels to selected companies will drive discretionary freight away from California to other ports that already are seizing every opportunity to market against California's ports."
If the legislature is unwilling to drop this bill entirely, in a May 23 letter Anderson urged California House Assembly Speaker John A. Perez to at least make it only a two-year law in order to allow for reconsideration while the courts consider an earlier ban the Port of Los Angeles attempted to impose, and to give "all parties the opportunity to find a better approach than saddling California-based businesses and jobs with another competitive obstacle to overcome."