CALIFORNIA PORTS OPPOSE TRUCK REGULATION PLAN

CALIFORNIA PORTS OPPOSE TRUCK REGULATION PLAN

California ports have lined up solidly against a proposal to install a truck regulating system to deal with inbound and outbound cargoes.

Terminal operators and at least one stevedore company also said they see no justification for such a step, which is modeled on a plan adopted years ago for the Port of New York.The California Trucking Association proposed the system to the Federal Maritime Commission and urged the agency to adopt it.

The proposal, which includes scheduling plans and fees for causing delays in truck movements, is needed to deal with congestion and to relieve motor carriers from what they perceive to be an unfair cost burden for time lost, the association argued.

The group's proposal was offered as a substitute for a similar system urged for Long Beach and Los Angeles by a group of truck owner-operators working through the Waterfront Rail Truckers Union. That plan also is before the commission.

The California Association of Port Authorities asserted that there was no factual basis for the proposed rule and said CTA's proposal was discriminatory in that it was designed to apply only to its common carrier members and not to private owner-operators of trucks.

The state port authority also argued that California's ports vary too widely by cargo and that one truck control system statewide wouldn't be fair or suitable.

CTA's petition was supported by the American Trucking Associations as an answer to a serious problem facing motor carriers serving California ports.

The national trucking group opposed the WRTU approach because it allegedly would create a monopoly, controlled by the union and worsen the situation it purports to remedy.

The West Coast Intercoastal Truckers Association, also representing independent owner-operators, supported CTA, but only if the proposal is modified to include independents. The association claims its members handle 85 percent of the container traffic moving through California ports.

The Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association of America also joined in a statement supporting the inclusion of independent truckers under CTA's proposal to reflect the realities of trucking industry operations in the ports of California.

The Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, the Los Angeles Steamship Association, the Steamship Operators Intermodal Committee, the Asia/North America East Bound Rate Agreement, the Greece Westbound Conference, the Mediterranean North Pacific Coast Conference and the South Europe/U.S.A. Freight Conference all opposed such a system.

The ocean carriers' rate-making groups also said the motor carriers' petitions appear motivated by the animosity between owner-operators, motor carriers and truck brokers, rather than by the actions of those who would be most adversely impacted by a truck detention rule - the ocean common carriers and the ports.

The ocean carriers insisted that no evidence had been offered proving the delays were their fault or the responsibility of the ports.

Seattle-based Stevedoring Services of America said the truckers' complaints are best left to market forces . . . rather than pervasive regulation. If motor carrier earnings per trip are unfair, as the petitioners claim, the truckers, being under no obligation to pursue marine-related cargo, can 'vote with their feet' and pursue more lucrative opportunities elsewhere, Stevedoring Services said.

International Transportation Services Inc., Long Beach, criticized the CTA proposal, saying it was not justified and urged its rejection.

The ports of Sacramento, San Francisco, Long Beach, Oakland, Stockton and Los Angeles also filed separate statements opposing the CTA petition.