Ag shippers lobby Seattle on port trucks
The Agriculture Transportation Coalition (AgTC) is urging Port of Seattle commissioners not to support modification of federal law so local ports could regulate harbor drayage.
“We hope that the port will recognize that manipulation of trucking regulations in order to mandate the type of individual allowed to drive a drayage truck on and off port premises, as has been attempted by the Port of Los Angeles, has nothing to do with protecting the environment,” the AgTC wrote in a letter that was sent Tuesday.
Peter Friedmann, AgTC executive director, said his group has found “the Port of Seattle’s approach to environmental initiatives to be responsible and sensitive to the needs of U.S. agriculture, both exporters and importers.”
But AgTC is opposed to efforts by the Port of Los Angeles and Teamsters to require port truckers to be employees instead of independent owner-operators, a move that could make it easier to unionize truckers and raise the cost of shipping, he said.
With the port reportedly scheduled to discuss its green truck program next week, he said the group wanted to have its voice heard to counter efforts by Los Angeles and the Teamsters.
The AgTC was part of a group of 32 shipper organizations that sent a letter to members of Congress last month opposing attempts to rewrite federal trucking regulations to exempt harbor drayage from preemption under the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act.
Friedmann told Seattle commissioners in his letter that attempts to manipulate what sort of truckers can drive drayage trucks “would lead to a dramatic increase in the cost of drayage trucking. It is estimated that the cost of drayage, in terms of higher charges and reduced scheduling flexibility, would triple.”
Friedman explained that his group has been pleased with Seattle’s approach to reducing pollution from port trucks.
“They pushed back on proposed infrastructure fees. They have implemented a green truck program without any fees. Our letter was sent in response to reports that at an upcoming meeting the green truck program will be discussed,” he said.
“Just because the Port of Los Angeles and Oakland are shooting themselves in the foot there is no reason the Port of Seattle should,” he said.