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Today’s Pickup: LA Times calls for common sense in port strike

 The Port of Los Angeles has been replacing older diesel trucks for several years and now has a fleet of electric terminal tractors that move containers.
The Port of Los Angeles has been replacing older diesel trucks for several years and now has a fleet of electric terminal tractors that move containers.

Good day,

Following a strike by truck drivers at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach this week – the 15th strike in the past four years at the ports – the Los Angeles Times Editorial Board has weighed in on the matter. Its opinion: clean up emissions at the ports, but don’t put the financial burden to do so on truckers.

The Board is encouraging the cities, who just announced a push to transition the ports to zero-emissions trucks, to avoid the path that was taken during the last clean ports initiative.

“The original program pushed by then-L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa attempted to address the affordability gap by requiring trucking companies working at the ports to hire the drivers as employees, rather than treating them as independent contractors,” the Times writes. “The trucking companies would then be responsible for buying and maintaining the new rigs; drivers would paid by the hour, not by the trip, and would be eligible for benefits.”

A lawsuit followed, and that part of the plan was thrown out, resulting in stories of truckers being forced into lease arrangements with onerous terms, according to a USA Today investigative report.

The latest environmental push has contributed to the current strike.

Did you know?

Diesel soot was reduced 97% during the last clean truck program that banned older diesel rigs from entering the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.


“The ports should not back off their clean-air goals. But leaders in L.A. and Long Beach also cannot proceed without finding a way to help drivers manage the transition to zero-emissions vehicles — for example, by offering grants or low-cost loans to help drivers buy clean trucks.”

– Los Angeles Times Editorial Board

In other news:

More visibility leads to more collaboration

Creating more network visibility will increase opportunities for collaborative shipments involving multiple shippers to a common destination, writes a Steve Banker, a contributor to Forbes.  (Forbes)

Intermodal has strong first quarter

According to data from the Intermodal Association of North America, intermodal containers, both international and domestic, rebounded with growth in the first quarter of 2017 following declines in 2016. (Inbound Logistics)

Turning to the sun

Canadian carrier Groupe Robert has been installing solar panels on its tractors to power electronics in the vehicles, including heating and cooling. (CCJ)

Tech startups attracting plenty of investors

While they still represent a very small percentage of the industry, digital on-demand freight businesses are drawing millions of dollars in investment. (

Daimler expands parts network

Daimler Trucks is adding additional distribution facilities in Indiana and Iowa to improve its parts distribution network and speed delivery of those parts. (Truck News)

Final Thoughts

The port strike going on in Los Angeles and Long Beach is a classic case of no good deed goes unpunished. To clean up emissions at the ports requires cleaner, newer trucks. They cost money. Independent contractors will struggle to make new truck payments. Add in long loading and unloading times in the ports due to congestion, and many will struggle to make a living. That hurts, and costs, – everybody, from the trucker who can’t make the payments, to the carrier that has to pay more to move the goods, and to the consumer in the form of higher prices.

Hammer down everyone!

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight covers general transportation news and leads the editorial team as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler.