Virginia Port Conditions Subject of Summit
April 19, 2001
Port truckers, steamship line representatives, terminal operators and transportation regulators met in Norfolk, Va., this week to discuss problems at the port.
According to the Virginian-Pilot, the "intermodal summit" was put together by the Hampton Roads Maritime Assn. and drew more than 100 people.
The summit was triggered by a bill introduced in the state General Assembly that would have rewritten rules regarding maintenance of container chassis. Steamship lines and their allies lobbied for a chance to work toward a nonbureaucratic solution. The bill was tabled, and the summit was part of looking for that solution.
Truckers complained that they shouldn't be responsible for the condition of container chassis owned by the steamship lines, many of which they say are unsafe. Steamship lines said legislation like that proposed would make it harder for Virginia to compete against other port states.
"We've never ever had the right people together to solve the problem," said Virginia Secretary of Transportation Shirley Ybarra, who conducted the summit. "We've needed to do this for a long time," she told the paper.
Thelma Drake, who introduced the House version of the tabled bill, told the paper that she's willing to introduce a similar bill in the next session if the industry can't resolve the issue.