Acting to keep the Port of Long Beach competitive while shippers and brokers grumble and talk of using other West Coast ports, the board of harbor commissioners voted April 20 to postpone collection of an infrastructure cargo fee, approved incentives to boost intermodal cargo, modified the clean-trucks fee to encourage privately financed replacement trucks and appointed a new managing director for trade relations.
The board voted to defer the $6 per container infrastructure cargo fee from July 1 this year until at least July 1, 2010. In the meantime, commissioners urged staff to seek supplementary federal stimulus funds to pay for critical highway and rail upgrades and repairs.
The board approved a 10 percent reduction in the port's wharfage rate to ship intermodal container cargo across the docks as an incentive for terminal operators to maintain or increase their discretionary cross-country cargo that could be shipped through any of several ports to reach inland destinations. The reduced rate, which could cost the Port as much as $11 million, will apply beginning May 1, 2009, and continue for one year.
A second one-year incentive approved by the board provides ocean carriers with a $20 per twenty-foot container unit reduction on wharfage or roughly a 10 percent discount to bring additional intermodal cargo through Long Beach, above the volumes from May 2008 through April 2009.
Effective May 4, the port will eliminate the clean-trucks fee and scrappage requirements for privately financed clean trucks, for port-funded liquefied natural gas-fueled or alternative-fueled trucks and for Gateway Cities-funded and the first 50 or so new trucks funded by the clean-trucks program.
Only container cargo moved by 2006 and older trucks and clean diesel trucks funded by the port after April 20 will pay the clean-trucks fee of $35 per TEU and $70 per larger container.
The changes also immediately reduce the "day pass" to $30 per day for out-of-state and infrequent truckers.
The Board also approved the appointment of Alex H. Cherin, who has been executive officer to the Board of Harbor Commissioners, as the port's managing director of trade relations and port operations. In his new position, Cherin will oversee the port's trade relations and port operations bureau, which includes the communications, trade relations, security and maintenance divisions.