More time is needed to complete ongoing discussions between the ports, Federal Maritime Commission staff and West Coast marine terminal operators.
The Federal Maritime Commission late last month said it will seek to block parts of the Clean Truck Programs that are "likely ... to produce an unreasonable increase in transportation costs or unreasonable reduction in service," including concession requirements that mandate exclusive use of employee-drivers rather than the owner-operators traditionally used. This controversial provision has been the target of the American Trucking Associations, which filed a lawsuit in addition to asking the Federal Maritime Commission to intervene.
Port officials say they are working "expeditiously" to resolve the issues.
"We are very concerned about the number of licensed motor carriers -- most of which are small, local companies -- that have already made significant capital investments in clean trucks that will help us reach our emissions objective sooner rather than later," said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Geraldine Knatz, Ph.D. "Any delay in the fee collection process slows our progress on reducing emissions and places those companies at a competitive disadvantage in this already tough economic climate; so we are doing our best to expedite the implementation of the fee."
The terminals are also working to finalize the program's automated gate administration and fee collection process. The fee will be used to finance the replacement of thousands of polluting cargo trucks. The automated gate access system and fee collection system were originally scheduled to commence operation on Nov. 17. With this delay, terminal operators will revert back to the temporary sticker system launched Oct. 1 to determine which trucks to allow into port terminals.
Beginning Oct. 1, the ports took the unprecedented step of banning 1988 and older vehicles, the first ban in a series planned under the Clean Trucks Program. On January 1, 2010, the ports will ban 1993 and older trucks, and un-retrofitted model year 1994 to 2003 trucks. By January 2012, nearly the entire truck fleet serving the ports - all vehicles 2006 and older will be banned.
The West Coast Marine Terminal Operator Agreement (WCMTOA) created the not-for-profit company PortCheck to collect the Clean Truck Fee to provide financial assistance for the replacement of as many as 10,000 trucks during the next three years.