FMC Delays Port Program


The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) recently voted 2-1 for a request of additional information on a port program in Long Beach and Los Angeles. The program has come under fired from the ATA and other organizations, because although it is primarily a "clean trucks" plan, it could force drayage companies to get concessions for harbor activity. This plan could also force many owner-operators that depend on port work out of their jobs.

Because of these possibilities Commissioners Rebecca Dye and Hal Creel voted for additional information. The commissionersÂâ€Ã¢„¢ request covers several documents and questions, and is sparked by the possible potential the plan has at decreasing transportation services and increasing costs. The commissioners did make a note to point out that they appreciated the public health and environmental benefits that the plan proposes and were resolved to complete their analysis as soon as possible.

Meanwhile the ATA has challenged the plan in court on the basis that imposing concessions on truckers illegally regulates interstate commerce. The ATA is currently making an appeal on a refusal a judge made last week for a preliminary injunction.

Under the shipping act, ports are required to file agreements with FMC before they can enforce a plan. The FMC has allowed the agreement to go into effect but has taken the stance of monitoring its developments. The FMC's vote last Thursday makes it unlikely that ports will be able to enforce the concessions by October 1. The vote keeps the plan from banning trucks older than 1989, making concession requirements, or requiring fees.

FMC commissioner Brennan, who voted against the request for additional information, has states that the ports plan deals with labor and environmental issues and that the FMC has neither the experience nor are they charged with ruling on those issues.