The economic crisis clouds the horizon and forces the rethinking of everyone’s business plans for 2009 and beyond. Despite the uncertainty, we see this as a challenge for all partners in our trade to raise their efficiency levels and to look for new means to deliver their same product in a better way. As an example, the recent high cost of fuel encouraged us all to seek more energy-efficient routings. The benefits were financial as well as friendlier to the environment. By rationalizing their tonnage, carriers were able to mitigate the cost burden of underutilized capacity and continue to offer their regular service to the public.
Implementation of the clean-trucks program in Los Angeles-Long Beach poses another challenge, especially because it comes at an unfortunate moment when the effect on all parties may deepen the impact of prevailing business forces. As carriers and shippers struggle to maintain their financial equilibrium, the added cost will likely foster a survival adaptation response. This could come in the form of cargo diversion to another gateway. It also could result in a reduction in trade volume of some commodities with low profit margins. Ultimately, we are all responsible citizens and will benefit from a cleaner environment, but the timing of the implementation of this program bears reconsideration.