The Los Angeles Harbor Commission last week voted to implement a program that will ban owner-operators as part of en effort to reduce pollution at the port.

The Clean Truck Program Drayage Services Concession Agreement sets up a process to transition to a Licensed Motor Carrier-based truck concession program beginning October 1 of this year.

"The approval of the Concession Agreement marks a major milestone in creating an efficient, reliable short-haul trucking ("drayage") system that will produce rapid improvements in air quality while supporting the Port's long-term business and security-related goals," said Los Angeles Harbor commission President S. David Freeman.

The Clean Truck Program establishes criteria for providers of drayage services at the Port - including a requirement to commit to using 100-percent employee drivers by calendar year 2013 in a phased-in schedule. The Port will now be able to hold those companies accountable for maintaining trucks and employing properly credentialed drivers. That, in turn, will ensure a sufficient supply of drivers, improve truck safety and maintenance while lowering emissions, enhance Port security and reduce the negative impacts that drayage services have on communities near the Port, according to the commission.

The American Trucking Associations has said it will sue to block the plan because of the ban on independent truckers.

The Port of Los Angeles is working with the neighboring Port of Long Beach to reduce port-related truck pollution by an estimated 80 percent. The Long Beach plan, however, still permits the use of independent contractor drivers.

The employee transition period at the LA port is designed to generally align with the percentage of trucks that will be banned from San Pedro Bay port drayage as part of the progressive ban schedule of older, dirtier trucks approved by both ports in October 2007.

Currently, more than 85 percent of the 17,000 short-haul trucks operating at the twin port complex are independent drivers, who earn about $11 to $12 per hour after expenses, according to the Long Beach Press-Telegram.