Port Solutions Suggested In Virginia

August 27, 2001

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A mediation committee, changes in chassis inspection procedures and better communication with truckers are among the measures proposed to help improve conditions at the Port of Hampton Roads in Virginia.

The recommendations are the result of an Intermodal Summit held in April. The report was submitted last week to Virginia Secretary of Transportation Shirley Ybarra, who hosted the summit. 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 non-bureaucratic solution. The bill was tabled, and the summit was part of looking for that solution.
The whole situation was triggered by the port trucking industry's accusation that because of intermodal containers maintained poorly by shipping lines, dangerous trucks were going out on public roads. The shippers own the chassis, but once they get out of the ports, truckers are responsible for problems such as broken lights or bald tires.
The Virginian-Pilot reports that the key proposal in the report is the formation of a mediation committee to hear and resolve disputes between truckers and shipping lines.
Other suggestions include changes in chassis inspection procedures; ongoing training for chassis inspectors; a separate storage area for chassis deemed unroadworthy; increasing communication with truckers on terminals; asking the state to compile statistics on violations involving intermodal equipment; and asking the Virginia Department of Transportation to expand camera coverage to port access roads.

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