Harbor truckers in Southern California are raising concerns that an effort by longshoremen to inspect all chassis before equipment is trucked from Los Angeles-Long Beach will result in unnecessary delays for their drivers.
The area arbitrator who handles contract disputes between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and waterfront employers ruled effective Nov. 21, terminal operators will conduct a mandatory roadability inspection of all chassis owned or controlled by shipping lines or terminal operators before allowing the chassis to be hauled from the facility.
Terminal operators on the West Coast employ ILWU labor. Longshore mechanics repair most of the chassis provided by shipping lines and terminal operators, but longshoremen at most terminals do not inspect chassis before they are hauled from marine terminals.
The Harbor Trucking Association, which represents drayage companies in Southern California, said the terminal inspection requirement is redundant because the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires truck drivers inspect chassis before hauling the equipment from terminals.
“To date, these safety inspections have been conducted by the truck driver per federal regulation, and the HTA sees the mandatory nature of the new roadability requirement as being duplicative,” said Fred Johring, president of the association.
Johring said he believes the dock worker inspections will result add to at a port complex where harbor truckers already struggle with congestion and delays.
Marine terminal operators on Thursday were meeting to discuss how to implement the inspections when the program begins next week.
The Pacific Maritime Association, which represents waterfront employers in their contract negotiations with the ILWU, also believes the new requirement is duplicative and is not the best use of a dock worker’s time.
PMA President Jim McKenna said the employers’ organization will appeal the Southern California area arbitrator’s decision to the coast arbitrator. However, PMA must wait until marine terminals actually implement the inspection program before employers lodge their appeal.
Hundreds of longshore mechanics earn their livelihood by repairing equipment at marine terminals. The ILWU on the West Coast, and the International Longshormen’s Association on the East and Gulf coasts, are concerned a recent move shipping lines in the U.S. to stop providing chassis to truckers will result in the loss of that work in the coming years.
Some employers and truckers see the mandatory roadability inspections by longshoremen as an effort by the ILWU to retain their repair work if longshoremen insist they not only inspect the chassis but also perform the repairs on defective chassis before releasing the equipment from the terminals.
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