Terminal Operators: Ports Not Ready with Truck Registry

The members of the West Coast Marine Terminal Operator Agreement (WCMTOA) announced that beginning Oct. 1, individual terminal operators plan to implement a ban on older, polluting trucks under the Clean Trucks Program of the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach.

At the same time, members expressed to the ports their concern that the ports have not completed the preparations necessary for a smooth implementation. Under their program, trucks must be listed in the ports' Drayage Truck Registry to gain admittance to the ports. It was not in place at the time of this release, Oct. 1.

As a stopgap, the two ports have begun issuing port-authorized stickers to trucks that have been registered. Terminal operators checking trucks found that between 22 percent and 32 percent of trucks had the port-issued stickers.

With more than 36,000 truck moves each day at the marine terminals at the two adjacent ports -- amounting to about 40 percent of the nation's containerized imports and exports -- the functioning of the U.S. goods movement system and of the broader U.S. economy depend on having a smooth flow of cargo through the terminals.

Terminal operators will monitor conditions throughout the day, and will confer regularly. If the truck ban produces gridlock on roads in and around the terminals, or if the number of trucks available is not sufficient to meet the need, the terminal operators will immediately bring those concerns to the ports and seek a rapid resolution.

"We have voiced our concerns to the ports about the number of trucks that have received approval to operate in the ports," said Bruce Wargo, secretary of WCMTOA. "We are concerned that inadequate preparation could lead to gridlock around the ports and a disruption to the flow of national commerce. We will implement the ports' program beginning today, but will closely monitor the situation, with the ports, and respond as necessary."

The Clean Trucks Program is part of the Clean Air Action Plans of the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, which have the goal of reducing emissions of harmful pollutants by 45 percent by 2012. The Clean Trucks Fee is the charge in the ports' tariff for cargo entering or leaving the port terminals and will be used to fund the purchase of new, clean trucks through the ports' grant program.

Both ports have stated that their programs will start Oct. 1, including denial of access to all 1988 and older trucks and to those trucks that are not in the Drayage Truck Registry. The ports have also stated that the Clean Truck Fees will be postponed beyond Oct. 1 until the necessary systems are in place.

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