CALIF. TRUCK GROUP FILES PORTS PLAN

CALIF. TRUCK GROUP FILES PORTS PLAN

The California Trucking Association filed its version with the Federal Maritime Commission of a proposed motor carrier regulating system for California's ports.

It was the second such plan proposed to the commission that combined the two for consideration.The association, composed of for-hire and common carrier truckers, earlier opposed a somewhat similar system proposed by truck owner/operators in the Waterfront Rail Truckers Union.

However, the association then said it regarded the union's proposal as too narrow - designed only for Los Angeles and Long Beach - and deficient in some other aspects, notably a call for licensing of truck brokers.

Accordingly, the association promised to file its own plan, modeled after the system employed in the Port of New York since 1975.

The trucking group said it believes the FMC is the only one that can bring order out of this chaos allegedly afflicting California's ports.

Most of the ports in that state opposed the union plan and denied that congestion or safety was a serious enough problem to justify such a system.

Most union organized motor carriers and many non-union truckers have ceased to serve the ports, the association said, and more and more, the ports are being serviced by owner/operators through transportation brokers.

Uncontrolled and uncompensated-for delays are costing motor carriers, the association said.

That raises costs and directly impacts on the underlying philosophy of the Shipping Act of 1984, that the shipping industry be efficient and economically sound.

Cost cutting by reducing maintenance and drivers' wages, resulting in less experienced operators being used at risk to safety, the association said.

By establishing a scheduling system and a scale of penalties on all parties to discourage delays, thereby putting the burden of delays where it is incurred, would reduce congestion, disputes, and ambiguities, and would ensure an appropriate level of cooperation and coordination among the relevant parties.

The commission, after the New York system had been in operation for some years, modified it in 1987. It noted at the time that the system had been a catalyst for the reduction of the port's congestion problems, and has assured an appropriate level of cooperation and coordination needed for smooth functioning.

The association would have its system imposed at Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco, San Diego, and Stockton.

Comment is due by April 15.