Fuel Costs Stir Trucker Protest

Fuel Costs Stir Trucker Protest

Copyright 2004, Traffic World, Inc.

Intermodal truckers in California who claim shipping lines refuse to reimburse their skyrocketing fuel costs are planning protests. The California Trucking Association says it will stage protests to coincide with the announcement of "record quarterly profits" by oil companies, said Stephanie Williams, CTA senior vice president.

"For the past five years, the steamship companies have been negotiating directly with customers rather than allowing the trucking companies to do their own negotiating," said Stephanie Williams, senior vice president of the California Trucking Association. "If that isn''t unlawful, it should be."

Williams says that because steamship companies control the rates, intermodal truckers have no way of getting reimbursed for fuel surcharges assessed to customers. The cost of diesel fuel in California was $2.36 a gallon last week compared with the national average of $1.70 a gallon.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters organized a lunch-hour strike last week at a Stockton, Calif., rail yard to coincide with a meeting of the Long Beach Harbor commissioners meeting, Williams said.

The CTA plans to follow the Teamsters'' lead by staging their own protest to coincide with the release of oil companies'' "record quarterly profits," Williams said. "Last year we circled the (state) Capitol with 150 trucks for an hour over the same issue. We''re not sure what we''re going to do this time."