Unregistered trucks hamper SoCal fee’s first day
Road congestion reigned at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach Wednesday as a new clean truck fee collection program began at the two ports’ container terminals.
A notice from the Port of Long Beach urged motorists to steer clear of Terminal Island and the southern end of the Long Beach (710) Freeway due to traffic there, with the chief culprit being queues of trucks attempting to enter the ports’ Truck Tag Replacement Center on Terminal Island after being turned away from entrance gates at the terminals.
The ports estimated that more than 1,000 trucks (about 20 percent of the trucks that arrived at the port Wednesday) were turned away from gates for failing to have the required electronic tags showing that they had signed up for the program. The other 80 percent entered the terminals with no problems.
“The system itself is working and fees are being collected, but it appears there’s quite a few drivers that waited until the last minute to get their (tags) and register in the system,” Arley Baker, Port of Los Angeles communications director, told the Long Beach Press-Telegram. “It’s the human factor at work here.”
The clean truck program charges cargo owners $35 per TEU for containers moved by any truck with an engine built between 1989 and 2006. Trucks with engines built in 2007 or later are exempt from the fee, and older trucks have been banned. PortCheck, the nonprofit entity set up by the ports to collect the fee, estimates that about 8 percent of the 14,000 to 16,000 drayage trucks operating in Southern California have new enough engines to be exempt from the fee.
The traffic jams caused by the turned away trucks are expected to stretch to Thursday, as some drivers were told on Wednesday to return to the Truck Tag Replacement Center the next day. ' Eric Johnson