The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach launched their clean truck program Oct. 1 and report that it is going well, but a lawsuit against a portion of the program remains to be settled.

The American Trucking Associations has appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for an injunction against the ports' requirement that carriers purchase a concession before they can provide drayage service. A decision on the appeal is expected around the end of November, ATA said.

The association contends that the concession requirement is illegal and discriminatory. Under the Los Angeles plan, for example, to be eligible to buy a concession a carrier must agree to use only employee drivers within five years. This in effect bans owner-operators from the business. The ports contend, on the other hand, that the concession program is necessary to ensure that drayage carriers will sustain emission requirements, as well as safety and security standards.

There had been concerns that the start-up of the concession program might lead to disruptions in port service, but that has not been the case. Arley Baker, a spokesman for the port of Los Angeles, said the port has received concession applications from about 730 carriers that have a collective pool of some 30,000 trucks.

"It's proving to be sufficient," he said.

The next step in the implementation process will come in November, when the ports start up an electronic system for carriers to pay registration fees at the gate, Baker said. He added that so far the port has been lenient about enforcing its requirement that all drivers have a Transportation Worker Identity Credential, but that carriers and drivers should know that sooner or later those cards will be checked.