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Global Logistics: IWLA Concerned About Teamsters

By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
May 25, 2010

OAKLAND—The International Warehouse Logistics Association is urging Congress to reject legislative language that would weaken federal preemption of state and local regulation of trucking in the nation’s ports because it is a backdoor attempt to drive independent owner-operator truckers out of business at those locations – including at the Port of Oakland.

In a recent letter to Peter DeFazio (D-OR), chairman, and John J. Duncan Jr. (R-TN), ranking minority member of the House on Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, IWLA President Joel D. Anderson said proposed amendments to the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act would undermine federal preemption by allowing local governments to regulate port trucking when it comes to address environmental and port security matters.

“The proposed amendments are not really about environmental and security concerns at the nation’s ports,” Anderson said in his letter. “They are an attempt to gain through legislation what the courts have found to be unlawful: local regulation of truck drayage services at the nation’s ports. Specifically, the proposed amendments are designed to allow the ports to ban independent owner-operators in favor of employee drivers.”

Current federal law preempts state and local regulation of trucking in interstate and foreign commerce except in regard to safety. The proposed amendments would undermine federal preemption by granting local governments the authority to regulate the port trucking industry to address environmental and port security matters.

Proponents of the amendment improperly characterize the need for change as necessary to improve air quality and port security. Several major U.S. ports, including the Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Seattle, have already initiated very successful Clean Truck Programs, Anderson pointed out to the subcommittee leaders. He cited the example of the California Air Resources Board which, in conjunction with the South Coast Air Quality Management District, implemented a clean trucks program that led to an estimated 80 percent reduction in diesel emissions two years ahead of its target date.

“This occurred without changing federal law,” Anderson noted. “This and similar efforts underway at other major U.S. ports demonstrate that it is not necessary to rewrite longstanding federal trucking laws to accomplish significant environmental improvements in port areas.”

About the Author

Patrick Burnson
Executive Editor

Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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