Friday, September 17, 2010

Judge Lifts Injunction On LA Port Truck Program

A federal Judge has officially ruled that the Port of Los Angeles' trucking re-regulation program can move forward, including provisions allowing the port to bar independent owner-operator truckers from servicing the port.

Judge Christina Snyder signed the judgment on Friday, making final her August ruling favoring the port and finding against the American Trucking Associations.

The core of the truck program is an environmental effort seeking to bar older, less efficient trucks from port drayage service and thereby reduce port-generated diesel emissions. The truck plan, however, also includes a non-environmental access license component. Under this component, trucking firms wishing to enter the port would be required to obtain an access license from the port and meet certain port-defined criteria. One of the most contentious of these criteria is a mandate that all trucking firms be staffed by per-hour truckers instead of per-load independent owner-operators. More than 80 percent of the current port drayage fleet is handled by owner-operators.

The ATA sued the port in 2007 arguing that while the group supported the environmental portions of the plan such as the ban on older trucks, the access license component violated federal law.

Various portions of the access license scheme, including the employee-only mandate, were eventually enjoined by Snyder. Snyder's final judgment on Friday dissolved the injunction.

The port will most likely have to wait until its next board meeting, scheduled for Sept. 27, before taking action to implement the previously enjoined portions of the truck program.

The ATA plans to file an appeal with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and ask the appellate panel to keep the injunction in place until a full hearing before the Ninth Circuit can be completed.