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Port of Los Angeles must continue to use non-union drivers

Spokesmen for the nation’s retailers said that it was a victory for U.S. consumers as well.
By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
September 26, 2011

Shippers and truckers hailed a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to overturn a ban on drayage owner-operators at the Port of Los Angeles late yesterday.

Spokesmen for the nation’s retailers said that it was a victory for U.S. consumers as well.

“By striking down the Port’s unjustified ban on owner-operators, the Court has upheld the rights of trucking companies to structure their businesses to maximize efficiency and productivity,” said American Trucking Associations President and CEO Bill Graves. “By throwing out the ban, the court has ensured that competition, not government regulation, will establish motor carrier’s rates, routes, and services.”

Graves also noted that successful clean trucks plans in Long Beach, Seattle and the Ports of New York and New Jersey have shown you can improve air quality without forcing owner-operators out of your port.

As noted in LM, the same can be true for smaller ocean cargo gateways like the Port of Boston (MASSPORT) where a clean truck program was recently introduced using both organized and free market drivers.

“(Our) program regulates trucks not truckers,” said MASSPORT’s executive director, Mike Leone. “The program is focused on trucking companies and independent operators.”

Graves said all clean truck programs share this mission.

“This plan was never about clean air, it was about promoting special interests of a few well-connected labor groups,” he said.

Additional support was provided by the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), which said “the ill-conceived employee-mandate” would have prohibited thousands of independent-owner operators from operating at the port with no appreciable benefit to the stated goals of the Clean Air Action Plan.

“Today’s decision affirms RILA’s perspective that partnerships that include port stakeholders including shippers, drayage operators and port authorities, are the pathway to achieving the shared goals of reduced emissions and uninterrupted commerce,” said Kelly Kolb, RILA’s vice president of global supply chain policy.

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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