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American Shipper

L.A. port offers incentives to truck plan applicants

L.A. port offers incentives to truck plan applicants

The Port of Los Angeles Harbor Commission has approved a financial incentive package for trucking firms to sign up for the port's trucking re-regulation plan that is to take affect Oct. 1.

   The five-member commission adopted a series of truck plan amendments to the port's tariff and approved an agreement with local firm eModal.com to develop a key software component of the truck plan at a special meeting Thursday.

   The port said the financial incentives would 'accelerate the emission reductions identified in the Clean Truck Program and encourage U.S. EPA 2007 compliant trucks to more quickly enter the Port drayage market.'

   The neighboring ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles are serviced by more than 1,300 motor carriers. Less than 10 percent of the trucking firms have enrolled in the truck plan, with the remainder facing the prospect of being barred from the ports Oct. 1, when the $2.4 billion truck plan is to take effect.

   The two financial incentives adopted by the commission are aimed at local drayage companies that do not intend to rely on the port's financial grants to replace or retrofit their trucks.

   The first incentive offers a one-time payout of up to $20,000 to carriers that sign up for the port's access license and paid for privately without truck plan funds. Besides the access license, motor carriers signing up for the cash payment must also agree to a minimum of six port-servicing drayage trips per week for five years, for each truck in which payment is received.

   Applicants for the second incentive would receive a $10-per-dray payout from the port on all containers moved that are subject to the port's $35-per-TEU container tax. Eligible motor carriers must agree to a minimum 600 calls per year at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, with a minimum of 300 of these calls made at Los Angeles terminal. Motor carriers will only be paid for the Los Angeles portion of these calls up to a yearly maximum per year of $10,000.

   Under the approved rules, motor carriers can receive both incentives for each truck the operate.

   The port estimates that the total outlay for the incentives would be $30 million per 1,000 trucks that apply for both incentives.

   To pay for these incentives, the commissioners also adopted an amendment to the port's tariff that allows the funds to be drawn from a port-imposed, $35-per-TEU container tax to begin collection on Oct. 1.

   The commission also adopted changes to the port's tariff that exempts nearly 120 liquefied natural gas trucks in the port drayage fleet from having to meet the federal 2007 emission standards criteria that forms the basis of the overall truck plan. The trucks, paid for by the ports under a pilot program in 2006 and provided to 10 area motor carriers, do not meet federal 2007 emission standards.

   The commissioners also modified an earlier truck plan tariff rule regarding an Oct. 1 ban of all pre-1989 trucks form servicing the ports. Previously, the ban was based on the model year of the engine in the truck. Commissioners changed the rule to ban trucks by their model year.

   In passing the rule, the port noted that determining the engine model year in a vehicle is much more difficult that the model year of the truck itself.

   Under rules of the truck plan, motor carrier were required to provided detailed information about all trucks in service to a port-created drayage truck registry (DTR) database by June 30 or face being barred from entering the port on Oct. 1. An additional provision said that trucks not signing up by June 30 faced a 91-day waiting period before being allowed access to the port.

   However, commissioners on Thursday modified the language of the DTR restriction to strike the 91-day waiting period and require trucks to be registered with the DTR 'prior to the time of entry.'

   The commissioners Thursday also approved a six-month contract with local transportation management firm eModal.com to develop the DTR. The firm operates a container pickup and delivery scheduling system that has registered more than 90 percent of the Southern California drayage trucks. The port believes that due to this high registration coverage of the drayage fleet, eModal can quickly develop a temporary DTR based on currently stored information, thus providing the port to develop its own proprietary DTR system.

   The Port of Long beach also approved using eModal to operate the interim DTR for the truck plan. ' Keith Higginbotham

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