American Shipper

L.A., Long Beach begin collecting clean truck fees

L.A., Long Beach begin collecting clean truck fees

   The clean trucks programs in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will start up Wednesday with the ports imposing fees on trucks that fail to meet clean air standards.

   The ports will begin collecting a $35 per TEU (or $70 per typical 40-foot container) fee on loaded containers moved by trucks with 1989-2006 engines. Trucks with engines built in 2007 or later are exempt, and older trucks have been banned.

   Trucks moving containers to and from the terminals must have electronic tags that will identify them. The fees are being collected by PortCheck Inc., a not-for-profit company created by marine terminal operators to collect the clean truck fee, which will be used to fund the purchase of new, cleaner trucks.

   PortCheck said about 8 percent of the trucks are exempt from the clean truck fee and that about 900 trucking companies have been approved, out of 14,000 in the drayage truck registry.

   Logistics company National Retail Systems Inc. said it has deployed 115 trucks that will be compliant with the clean truck requirements.

   “We primarily serve retailers and our customers just can’t incur extra supply chain costs in this economy,” said Raymond Wisniewski, president and chief operating officer of NRS.

   NRS said its clean truck pier fleet will have the capacity to handle 70,000 TEUs and that it has plans to increase the fleet to handle 300,000 TEUs of imports per year by the end of 2009.

   Pacer International said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it has “placed 230 new trucks meeting 2007 emission standards into service with owner-operators servicing the ports. The new trucks will reduce our customers’ exposure to new fees from the ports as well as meet the ports’ new truck emission standards.”


   Meanwhile, the Federal Maritime Commission last week decided to require the parties in the PortCheck program to file special monitoring reports that the FMC said would allow it to “closely monitor the ongoing operation of the Clean Truck Fee collection process to assess the fee’s impact on the San Pedro Bay drayage industry and the American shippers and consumers served by that industry.”

   The clean truck program has divided the three members of the FMC, which is pursuing an injunction under section 6 of the Shipping Act against certain aspects of the clean truck program in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

   Commissioner Joseph E. Brennan in a press release issued last week said he opposed the requirement for special monitoring reports saying there was an “extensive factual record already compiled in this matter.

   “Exceptional informational filings of the parties is neither needed nor warranted,” he added.

   Brennan said that unlike the two other commissioners, Harold J. Creel Jr. and Rebecca F. Dye, he “supports all aspects of the PortCheck Agreement.”


   He added, “It is abundantly clear that the enormous, long-term economic, health and security benefits of the Clean Trucks Program outweigh the projections, by some, of cost increases and service decreases.”

   He said there is “no basis for the commission’s continued second-guessing of a key policy judgment made by the City of Los Angeles: namely, that so-called independent owner-operators do not have the control, capital and economies of scale needed to keep their vehicles in compliance within environmental standards.

   “Los Angeles and Long Beach are acting 'reasonably' and in compliance with all relevant Shipping Act standards,” said Brennan’s release. ' Chris Dupin