Friday, February 24, 2012

LA Port, Trucking Company Settle Dispute

Swift Transportation Co. has agreed to pay the Port of Los Angeles $4 million to settle a dispute over a nearly $12 million grant the trucking company received to buy hundreds of new drayage trucks.

Swift had received $11.8 million from the Port of LA’s truck replacement program to buy 591 new trucks, with the port doling out $20,000 per truck. One of the conditions of the grant however, was that the trucks had to make at least 300 trips to the port per year for five years.

Even though the number of annual trips was eventually downgraded last year to 150 from 300, Swift still had well over 400 trucks that didn’t meet the criteria.

The grants, however, included a clause requiring a payback to the port for any truck not making the required number of trips.

On Feb. 16, the port’s harbor board officially approved a settlement with Swift, which requires the trucking company to pay back $4 million of the $11.8 it received under the grant program.

The truck replacement program is part of the port’s initiatives to reduce waterfront air pollution. Under it, trucking companies can receive money for new, cleaner trucks if they agree to turn in older, dirtier trucks to be destroyed. The older trucks are required to have been in drayage service at the port for a minimum of two years prior to trade in.

Although Swift has to this point received the largest share of replacement program funding, it’s not the only company that’s faced the issue of not using the new trucks for their intended purpose.

In 2010, the port revealed that only 30 percent of the 2,000 trucks bought by trucking concessionaires with port money had made the required 300 trips per year, at the time, and that about 400 trucks bought through the port’s grant program had yet to make a single trip to the port.