Goods Movement Timeline

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Welcome to the METRANS Goods Movement Timeline. This is a searchable timeline of activities tied to goods movement, logistics and international trade based upon items from the popular press.

Given our location and the importance of this region as an international trade gateway, many of the entries pertain to Southern California. We do however draw from state and national press as well. Some articles' links may have expired, or you may have to pay a fee or register on the Web site where they originally appeared to access the complete article. Our goal however is to provide the researcher with enough information to track significant events over time as they have occurred in key areas like legislation, finance, and security.

This timeline grew out of timelines initially developed for METRANS research projects in the area of goods movement. Earlier entries (before 2005) were therefore not prepared with a searchable database in mind and will be less detailed. We hope, however, that they remain a useful resource.

Environmentalists ready challenge of pollution-control plan at San Pedro?s China Shipping Terminal

Los Angeles port commissioners on Tuesday, Oct. 8, unanimously approved a set of environmental mitigation measures that critics say don?t go far enough. An appeal to the Los Angeles City Council is being prepared by the Natural Resources Defense Council which says it plans to pursue litigation if that option isn?t successful. ?I should have hauled the port into court four years ago,? said NRDC senior attorney David Pettit. ?What we?ve seen is four years of stalling and moving backward.? In 2015, Pettit was asked by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to join in the process with the port to address several pollution-control measures that had not been completed as part of the China Shipping Terminal settlement. The resulting supplemental EIR report approved by the five-member commission did not go far enough, the NRDC and others said. With projected cargo traffic increasing, Jillian Wong of the South Coast Air Quality Management District also was critical of the plan. ?The final (report) is inadequate in reducing emissions and does not meet the requirements of CEQA because the mitigation measures are insufficient, and in any event, are not included in enforceable requirements applicable to the tenant, China Shipping,? she wrote in a letter to the port. ?South Coast AQMD staff recommend that you delay approval of this project and consider additional measures ? to mitigate the significant air quality and health risk impacts.? The NRDC wrote that the port has ?failed, once again, to comply with CEQA. Because the record shows that China Shipping has no interest in complying with mitigation measures in the 2008 EIR, the board should terminate the lease with China Shipping and find a tenant that can comply with CEQA, and parter with the city in fulfilling its zero emission goals.? Commissioners, however, said the report offers the best way forward because it focuses not on ?aspirational? fixes and technology that remains only in prototype stages but on technology that is available for acquisition and use now. ?Just because there is one machine ?somewhere? that is being used in a demonstration project doesn?t mean it can run a whole terminal,? Commissioner Diane Middleton said. Chris Cannon, the port?s director of Environmental Management Division, said the provisions approved will implement the cleanest technology that is available, with the goal of becoming a full zero-emissions operation by 2030. The NRDC and homeowners the coalition represented in the original China Shipping expansion lawsuit argue that the plan needs to be more aggressive. Several speakers went before the commission Tuesday before the vote to argue their positions. ?This is an example of too little, too late,? said Chuck Hart, president of San Pedro Peninsula Homeowners United. ?The community has been violated.? Others, though, argued that jobs need to kept at the top of the list when implementing new technology. For that reason, Gary Herrera, vice president of the International Longshore Warehouse Union?s Local 13, said workers supported the port?s report, noting that fully automated terminals reduce jobs. ?What this does is create an opportunity to fix some of the problems without displacing jobs,? he said. China Shipping employs between 800 and 1,000 workers. The port, it was discovered, had not completed 11 of the 52 measures agreed to in the 2003 China Shipping settlement to cut pollution caused by the ships and trucks that travel in and out of the port every day. That discovery is what triggered the port?s move to do the supplemental environmental impact report that was presented and approved this week. Port Executive Director Gene Seroka said not acting on the missed measures would leave the port out of compliance. The port?s solution, commissioners agreed, represented a logical step forward in what has been a long effort to cut pollution. ?This is a marathon, not a sprint,? said Commissioner Anthony Pirozzi. But Pettit said after the meeting that it already been too long, adding that the NRDC plans next to appeal the action to the Los Angeles City Council.READ MORE »

USMCA is good for California?s economy and good for trucking

Southern California receives many blessings by virtue of its latitude. Sunny weather and beautiful beaches make this corner of the country one of America?s natural treasures. But its location on the map has an even greater significance than its panoramic beauty, making it a pivotal part in our nation?s economic engine. As a key border state and home to our largest port, Southern California is a vital gateway of global commerce essential to the prosperity of the United States. That is why it is essential for California?s Congressional delegation to be a leading voice in support of the United States-Mexico-Canada trade pact when it comes before the Congress in the coming weeks. Californians know as well as anyone the value of free and fair trade. Forty percent of all U.S. imports come through Southern California, supporting some 4.4 million jobs, according to the Business Roundtable. Truckers know the importance of trade, too. We see trade in motion every single day. Eighty-two percent of the total tonnage of goods manufactured in California are moved by trucks. In servicing factories, farms and stores up and down the West Coast, truckers know what access to Mexican and Canadian markets does to stimulate business and create good-paying jobs. Every single day, there are a staggering 33,000 truck entries along our northern and southern borders hauling more than $2 billion of goods. Nowhere is this more visible than in Southern California, one of the largest points of entry for trucks crossing between the U.S. and Mexico. Last year, truck-transported trade of goods with Mexico, as measured by the value of the goods, accounted for 84% of total surface-transported trade, imports and exports, across the southern border. The two largest commodities were electrical machinery and computer-related machinery, which combined to make up 44% of goods going into Mexico via trucks. Cross-border trade with our neighbors has become a cornerstone of the American economy, with Mexico and Canada purchasing more U.S.-made goods than our next 10 trading partners combined. Since 1995 and the enactment of NAFTA, U.S. exports to Mexico by truck have grown an impressive 393%. In that same time, the value of these goods traveling via truck across both the northern and southern borders has jumped 191% and totaled more than $772 billion in 2018 alone. This increase in trade has directly created or supported tens of thousands of trucking jobs in the United States and has provided a steady stream of business to California?s trucking industry, which employs more than 710,040 people across the state. But at twenty-five years old NAFTA ? the oldest of our 17 international trade agreements ? is showing its age. A quarter century after it was first written, its labor and environmental standards are now woefully inadequate. Technological advances have dramatically changed how business is done. In 1994, the Internet was in its infancy, and trade did not accommodate same-day shipping or two-day delivery that is often expected today. As the supply chains between our three nations grow more connected and interdependent, the USMCA represents a timely and necessary update. It will help the trucking industry maintain market access and continuity of cross-border operations. This comprehensive, twenty-first century trade agreement preserves and builds upon the current trilateral framework to solidify North America?s role as the most competitive and successful trading bloc in the world. READ MORE »

Port of L.A. signs off on land permit for temporary homeless shelter in Wilmington

A temporary homeless shelter planned for Wilmington moved forward with the granting of a port permit Tuesday, Oct. 8, but not without a discussion about whether the community was given enough say in the matter. The Port of Los Angeles permit, allowing the city to use a former union dispatch hall property at 826 Eubank Ave. was a formality. It allows the city put up a tension-membrane style Bridge Home shelter to be used for three years. It is slated to open in spring 2020. But the proposal has never been popular with Wilmington residents who waged a fierce battle to defeat it after the site was named in 2018. A temporary Bridge Home shelter planned for Wilmington was approved by the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners in a special meeting Oct. 8, 2019. The shelter will be similar to this rendering showing the shelter envisioned for San Pedro. The Wilmington structure will be at 826 Eubank Ave. And Gina Martinez of Citizens for a Better Wilmington said the community was never adequately informed throughout the earlier city vetting process. ADVERTISING A 2,000-page city report, she said, included dozens of errors, including mixing up the addresses of the Wilmington and San Pedro properties and discrepancies on the property size. ?It was like a really bad cut-and-paste job,? she said. ?What are we getting? We really don?t know.? Residents also were not well-informed about when City Council votes were scheduled, Martinez said, adding that the long drive to City Hall and work and family schedules prevented many from attending meetings even when they did know about them. Meeting schedules when votes would be taken were confusing and not well-publicized, she said. ?We never had a chance to have our say, never,? she said. Led by Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino, the proposal has moved through the various stages of approval. There were community meetings held through the months, a council office representative said, but port Commissioner Lucia Moreno-Linares questioned whether the port itself should have also offered opportunities for community feedback. The item to grant the permit for the property was only added to the port?s agenda on Friday, Oct. 4, Moreno-Linares said, adding that many community members probably did not know about it. The permit approval ? and the fact that the property is owned by the Port of Los Angeles ? could further strain a port-Wilmington relationship that has long been tenuous, Moreno-Linares said.READ MORE »

ACLU sues terminal-operator association, longshore union on behalf of pregnant LA and Long Beach dock workers

The ACLU on Monday, Oct. 7, filed a lawsuit against the Pacific Maritime Association and the longshore union, arguing that they have failed to provide accommodations for pregnant port workers and maintained a discriminatory promotion system. The Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit names as defendants the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents terminal operators at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, as well as the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 13, which represents longshoremen at West Coast ports. The ACLU filed the suit on behalf of Endanicha Bragg, Tracy Plummer and Marisol Romero, who are current non-union dockworkers seeking full-time jobs and union membership. The plaintiffs are seeking an injunction requiring PMA to implement reasonable accommodations for pregnant and breastfeeding casual workers. The plaintiffs also want all defendants to change their policies, which they say penalize pregnant workers for their absences. Representatives of the PMA and ILWU Local 13 did not return requests for comment. The lawsuit argues the PMA and the longshore union violated the state?s Fair Employment and Housing Act, the California Pregnancy Disability Leave Law, the California Family Rights Act and the state Unfair Competition Law. The amount of time that casual dockworkers have to accumulate to move up to full-time positions and union membership in some cases is more than 7,000 hours, a challenging goal because work opportunities can be highly irregular for workers who aren?t full time, according to the plaintiffs? attorneys. Workers who are pregnant are more vulnerable to falling behind in accumulating hours, and if they refuse an assignment potentially hazardous to a pregnancy, they not only lose hours and pay, but will also not have the chance to work again until their assigned work code comes up in rotation, the plaintiffs? attorneys argued. Although clerical work and other jobs exist at the ports, the unions failed to provide pregnant casual workers with those assignments, despite state law prohibiting employers from refusing to provide reasonable accommodation for an employee for a condition related to pregnancy, the suit argues. The complaint also argues that the unions refused to provide minimum lactation accommodations for workers who want to breastfeed when they return to work after giving birth, which the state labor code requires. ?Women make up 40% of the casual workforce at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach,? said Gillian Thomas, senior staff attorney with the ACLU?s Women?s Rights Project. ?But you wouldn?t know it from the policies of the PMA, ILWU and Local 13.?READ MORE »

Alleged Chinese scheme sought to avoid $1.8 billion in aluminum tariffs using LA and Long Beach ports, Inland and OC warehouses

LOS ANGELES ? A Chinese billionaire has been charged in Los Angeles in a complex scheme to avoid $1.8 billion in aluminum tariffs, that involved importing the metal through the ports of LA and Long Beach and storing it in Inland Empire and Orange County warehouses, federal prosecutors announced Wednesday. Zhongtian Liu, the founder of China Zhongwang Holdings Limited, and the aluminum company he previously headed, were charged with conspiracy, wire fraud and international money laundering. The charges come as the U.S. and China try to reach a trade agreement aimed at ending a tariff war. Liu, 55, schemed to import aluminum in the shape of pallets, which would avoid 2011 customs duties up to 400% that were not imposed on finished merchandise, prosecutors said. The pallets, however, were three to four times heavier than typical aluminum pallets, and were sold to U.S.-based companies controlled by Liu and stockpiled at Southern California warehouses. The scheme created the false impression that demand was high for the company?s product and artificially inflated sales volume in annual reports, prosecutors said. ?This indictment outlines the unscrupulous and anti-competitive practices of a corrupt businessman who defrauded the United States out of $1.8 billion in tariffs due on Chinese imports,? U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said. ?Moreover, the bogus sales of hundreds of millions of dollars of aluminum artificially inflated the value of a publicly traded company, putting at risk investors around the world.? The scheme largely took place from 2011 to 2014, though it is ongoing, prosecutors said. Prosecutors have sought to seize the warehouses where the aluminum was stored and more than 275,000 aluminum objects in the shape of pallets. The defendants include four LLCs controlled by Liu that were established to purchase warehouses in Riverside, Ontario, Irvine and Fontana where the aluminum pallets were stockpiled, prosecutors said. The aluminum was imported through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Liu and two co-defendants charged in the scheme are not in custody and are believed to be out of the U.S., prosecutors said. Neither Liu nor the company has an attorney that prosecutors are aware of, spokesman Thom Mrozek said. Messages seeking comment from China Zhongwang, a publicly traded company based in Liaoyang, were not immediately returned.READ MORE »

LA Port commissioners to revisit terminal automation vote

Online Edition The impassioned debate over jobs, automation and robots resumes again at 9 a.m. Thursday, July 11, when the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners revisits its earlier decision to allow a permit that would pave the way for modernization at the Port of L.A.?s largest terminal. The new hearing, which follows a Los Angeles City Council vote vetoing the commission?s decision and directing the port to reconsider, is expected to bring another record crowd to the cruise terminal?s baggage dome, 250 S. Harbor Blvd., in San Pedro. Supporters on both sides will weigh in, with a 22-page board staff report reiterating its findings that the permit ? sought by APM Terminals, which shipping-container giant Maersk owns ? is consistent with the Port Master Plan and the California Coastal Act. Ray Familathe, president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union?s Local 13, said he expects commissioners to address issues raised by the City Council. He said commissioners should be called on to ?address the claims of noncompliance with the Port Master Plan (and) the safety concerns that have been presented.? And, he added, they should discuss, ?the anticipated negative economic impacts fully automated terminals will bring to our communities.? Tom Boyd, a spokesman for Maersk, said the company is confident that harbor commissioners will stand by their earlier decision to uphold the permit. ?None of the facts have changed since the last time the board voted, and the permit is consistent with the Port Master Plan,? Boyd said Tuesday, June 9, in a written statement. On Thursday, commissioners will take more testimony and then have the opportunity to change or reaffirm their 3-2 vote rejecting the union?s appeal ? thus allowing the permit to remain in place. A board report to be submitted with Thursday?s hearing found that the permit: Is consistent with and advances Port Master Plan goals; Does not pose any identifiable adverse environmental impacts; Will not interfere with a nearby bird sanctuary; and Is expected to advance clean environment goals and terminal efficiency. Also now on record backing APM Terminals? request is the Coalition for Responsible Transportation, which in a Monday, July 8, letter to the port called on commissioners to move forward with the permit for electric cargo handling equipment. The group said it?s an important step in improving the environment. But with hundreds of dockworkers protesting the move to automation this year, lawmakers have begun demanding the port consider the bigger picture of how technology on the docks will affect jobs. Assembly Bill 1321, for example, is currently making its way through Sacramento and would give the State Lands Commission authority to review terminal automation requests. Thursday?s port hearing, meanwhile, comes after the City Council voted unanimously on June 28 to send the matter back to the commission, arguing the loss of jobs automation would cause needs to be weighed as a factor. But denying the permit could make little difference. Terminal operators have said that with or without the permit, they?ll proceed with automation. The permit, for Pier 400, would allow for zero-emissions technology to be implemented, but the terminal?s planned automated straddle carriers can also operate on diesel, which doesn?t require a permit. The permit, considered routine, was granted by port administrators earlier this year, but then challenged by the powerful ILWU, which has turned out by the hundreds and thousands to protest Since then, terminal operators and the union have been in talks on a deal to allow automation while preserving jobs. The talks, facilitated by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, have been ongoing for three months. Thursday?s meeting could include a status report on the ongoing closed-door meetings. Want local news? Sign up for the Localist and stay informed READ MORE »

Cal Cartage’s Wilmington warehouse facility will close and take 800 jobs with it

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California Cartage, a trucking and warehouse company at the Port of Los Angeles, has announced it will close its Wilmington warehouse in July 2019 where 800 people are currently employed, and the company is blaming the Teamsters Union for the closure.

The company, which is owned by NFI Industries, was involved in lease negotiations with L.A.’s Harbor Commission for the past three months. The L.A. City Council unanimously revoked the company’s lease at the site in October and ordered the Harbor Commission to include provisions in the future lease that prevented labor disruptions.

According to a company press release, the Teamsters, who have been attempting to unionize workers at the warehouse since at least 2016, “prevented a negotiated lease despite Cal Cartage’s willingness to agree to allow the employees to once again vote on whether to unionize.”

A vote on whether to form a union in 2016 fell short of its goal, an outcome the Teamsters blamed on the company breaking “numerous laws” including “unlawfully threatening and intimidating workers,” a statement from the Teamsters read.

In a settlement that will be considered by the Harbor Commission at its meeting on Jan. 24, Cal Cartage will have six months from the time the agreement is signed to wind down its operations at the Wilmington warehouse facility.

It’s unclear yet whether the company will attempt to negotiate a separate lease for its two trucking subsidiaries, California Cartage Express and K&R Transportation, to remain on the property.

“This is a very sad day for Cal Cartage, our employees, our customers and the Wilmington community,” said Sid Brown, CEO of NFI. “We have been fighting, with the help of our employees, for the past four months to negotiate a deal to keep this facility open long-term. This is not the outcome we wanted. Because of the Teamsters’ efforts, we now have been left with no other option but to shut down the Wilmington operation.”

Teamsters Port Division Director Fred Potter said the company was wise to vacate the property to make room for a company that he says will follow the law.

“NFI should act responsibly and stop pointing fingers at the Teamsters when its NFI that has continuously and persistently broken the law,” Potter said in a statement.

There have been seven labor strikes in recent years among Cal Cartage workers. In November 2018, six trucker drivers for the company filed minimum wage violation claims.

In September 2018, the company was ordered  to pay $3.57 million to more than 1,400 workers after a U.S. Department of Labor investigation revealed it had failed to pay its workers a fair wage.

In May 2018, L.A. city leaders slammed the company for allegedly treating their workers badly.

In March 2016, Cal cartage was hit with a complaint from the National Labor Relations Board alleging that managers interrogated and threatened workers with retaliation for union organizing efforts.


SCOTUS rules against forced arbitration in port trucker case

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The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously ruled in favor of a Southern California truck driver who claimed he was wrongly forced into an arbitration agreement with a major carrier.

In an 8-0 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that independent driver Dominic Oliveira could not be compelled by New Prime Trucking to settle a dispute over back wages through forced arbitration. Oliveira filed a lawsuit in 2013 to have a dispute over unpaid wages decided in open court.

The decision could have lasting repercussions for the trucking industry at Southern California’s ports. Many companies hire workers who are independent contractors, not formal employees, and these workers are forced to settle disputes through arbitration.

The court’s opinion

Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the opinion of the court, with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg adding a concurrent opinion. Justice Brett Kavanaugh did not participate in the vote.

The decision, which affirmed a ruling by First Circuit Court, means that Oliveira can pursue his case in open court and not be forced into arbitration that could not be subject to appeal. His lawsuit eventually became certified as a class action.

Labor groups and worker rights advocates are praising the court’s decision. In a joint statement, Justice for Port Drivers and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters hailed it as “a great victory for all workers in the transportation industry.”

An issue of classification

Classification of thousands of truck drivers as contractors, and not employees, has been an issue at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach for several years.

“Although we have consistently challenged employers’ attempts to compel private arbitration to avoid a public legal battle, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling makes it clear that employers cannot and should not require drivers to waive their right to their day in court,” the statement read.

Missouri-based New Prime’s argument was based on the Federal Arbitration Act, a 1926 law that established arbitration as a mostly binding agreement. However, as Gorsuch noted in his opinion, that law may not compel arbitration in disputes involving “contracts of employment” for certain transportation workers.

That term also led to a discussion by Gorsuch about a distinction that was rarely made 93 years ago. Did “contracts of employment” make a distinction between payroll employees and independent contractors?”

“At that time, the term ‘contract of employment’  usually meant nothing more than an agreement to perform work,” Gorsuch wrote. “The dictionaries of the era consistently afforded the word ’employment’ a broad construction, broader than may often be found in dictionaries today.”

The ruling could have a long-term effect on businesses, said Thomas Lenz, a partner with Cerritos-based law firm Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo.

“It’s potentially impactful because so many people are labeled as independent contractors these days,” said Lenz, who practices employment law and also teaches at USC’s Gould School of Law. “Many are misclassified, and the law could put them as employees, which could leave employers liable.”


Who’s liable now? State warns distribution hubs to avoid working with truck fleets that owe back wages

The state agency that enforces workplace law has issued a warning to distribution facilities that they could be on the hook for future fines if they do business with trucking companies that violate wage laws.

The warning, issued Jan. 2 by the California Department of Industrial Relations and based on a law that went into effect the previous day, names 19 trucking companies that pick up containers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. These companies owe more than $1.7 million in back pay, fines and other charges related to employee compensation.

The warning, however, is for the trucking firms’ would-be customers. A retailer or distribution company that enters into a contract with these trucking companies would share in the blame – and the cost – if future violations are discovered.

“Companies are on notice that if they contract with a known wage thief, they will be held responsible for the exploitation of the drivers who carry their goods,” Julie Su, the California labor commissioner, said in a statement.

The outstanding judgments include unpaid wages, overtime pay, expenses and workers compensation payments. According to the state’s press release, some port trucking operators have misclassified employees as independent contractors to increase their profits.

Several truck fleet operators owe hundreds of thousands of dollars for multiple, outstanding violations. Krisda Inc. of Long Beach owes about $392,000 for four violations. Pacgran Inc., with addresses listed in Diamond Bar and Long Beach, owes more than $352,000 from five cases.

HRT Trucking, one of two companies listed that are not from Southern California, owes about $175,000 for three violations. The company’s home address is Houston. Absolute Intermodal in Phoenix owes about $124,000.

Other violators cited, with approximate amounts, are:

  • Perez Brothers Transport of Compton ($141,000)
  • MSTL Inc. of Gardena ($80,000)
  • LHB Trucking of South Gate ($80,000)
  • DLS International Services of Carson ($72,000)
  • Sprint Transports of Hacienda Heights ($61,000)
  • Climan Motor Freight of Long Beach ($28,000)
  • Harbor Choice Express of Gardena ($27,000)
  • GTD of Santa Fe Springs ($26,000)
  • Accolade Management of Gardena ($25,000)
  • Expedited Freight Services of Paramount ($24,000)
  • JD & LA Trucking of Wilmington ($18,000)
  • Coastal Trucking & Distribution of Gardena ($13,000)
  • Excel Trucking Services of Burbank ($9.000)
  • Container Intermodal Transport of Wilmington ($8,000)
  • Golden Tranz of Burbank ($6,000)

The warning to warehouse operators that could be prospective contractors with these trucking firms is the result of a new labor law that went into effect Jan. 1, specifically drafted to help workers who drive trucks based at the ports, DIR spokesperson Jeanne-Mairie Duval said in an email.

According to the DIR statement, since 2011 more than 1,000 claims for unpaid wages have been filed, with 448 of them resulting in decisions favorable to the truck drivers, resulting in more than $50 million in wages owed.

The $1.7 million in fines cited in Wednesday’s announcement are based on cases that have already been decided by the courts but have not yet been settled by the offending companies.


This Port of Long Beach project would shift more containers to rail, potentially cut down on truck trips and pollution – Press Telegram

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A Port of Long Beach rail project that’s now in the planning stages could potentially eliminate several hundred commercial truck trips to and from the port each day – cutting down traffic congestion and air pollution, port officials say.

The port’s Pier G and J Double Track Access Project aims to, among other things, decrease roadway congestion by shifting more containers to rail, which would reduce the need for container-hauling semis.

When complete, the project would expand on-dock rail usage by about 157,000 cargo containers each year, and reduce the need for 615 daily truck trips, according to the port.

The port received a $14 million grant for the project in November, with the money coming from the state’s Trade Corridor Enhancement Program, which helps pay for improvements to freight corridors across California.

The track access project would add a new 9,000-foot departure track for trains serving four of Long Beach’s six container terminals. The total estimated cost is $25 million, with the port picking up the tab on the remaining $11 million.

The plan is to award a construction contract for the Pier G and J project next spring and begin construction in fall 2019, port spokesman Lee Peterson said. Construction is expected to conclude by mid-2021, according to the port.

Port Chief Executive Mario Cordero said the project would enhance both the port’s operations and environmental sustainability because moving goods by rail is four times as efficient as moving them by truck.

In a statement, Port of Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners President Tracy Egoscue said that the project would help modernize the port and strengthen its ability to contribute to the regional and state economies.

The double track access project isn’t related to the ongoing $870 million Pier B On-Dock Rail Project, a massive effort to reconfigure and expand the port’s Pier B terminal by upgrading its rail facility. That project would allow trains up to 10,000-feet long to be loaded and unloaded at on-dock rail facilities at marine terminals.


LA, Long Beach ports poised to give up to $100,000 each to truck drivers for cleaner rigs

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The Port of Long Beach and Port of Los Angeles are on the verge of establishing a joint grant program that would give dozens of truck drivers up to $100,000 each to buy newer, less-polluting rigs.

Under what’s being called the Early Adopter Truck Incentive Program, a total of $14 million is being earmarked by the ports to give to goods-hauling drivers to help them pay for new lower emission, natural gas-powered trucks. Of that amount, $8 million is coming from grant program funds provided by the California Energy Commission, while the two ports and South Coast Air Quality Management District would each provide $2 million in funding.

Truckers successfully applying to the ports’ incentive program would receive $100,000 each toward the purchase of low-emission natural gas-powered trucks. To receive the funds, applicants would already have to be part of the ports’ truck registry, which lists what trucks are authorized to enter the port complex. Grant recipients would also have to agree to scrap their existing truck in order to receive money toward the purchase of a new one.

The average cost of the new, low-emissions trucks is $200,000, which is about $50,000 more than a standard container-hauling truck, according to the ports.

According to the ports, the program is designed to incentivize wide-scale deployment of low-emissions, heavy-duty freight-movement trucks throughout the area.

Matt Miyasato, SCAQMD’s deputy executive officer for science and technology advancement, said the newer trucks are 90 percent cleaner than the standard commercial trucks on the road today and emit near-zero emissions.

“We suffer from the worst air quality in the nation,” Miyasato said Nov. 15. “The only reasonable way for us to get attainment for healthy, clean air for the region is to replace, among other things, about 200,000 on-road heavy duty trucks. We think the port is a great place to start.”

The SCAQMD’s governing board approved the program during an October meeting, and the Port of Los Angeles’ Board of Harbor Commissioners did the same on Nov. 15. Next up is Long Beach’s harbor board, which is expected to ratify the agreement during its Nov. 26 business meeting.


Process to sell one of Long Beach port’s busiest terminals begins next month, reports say

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COSCO, owner of the Long Beach Container Terminal – one of the biggest and busiest facilities in North America – will begin the process of selling its Port of Long Beach facility next month, multiple media outlets are reporting.

The terminal’s owner, Chinese investment holding company Orient Overseas International Ltd,. or OOIL, could receive billions of dollars when it sells the terminal, with one estimate coming in at more than $2.4 billion, according to a report by the Journal of Commerce.

The sale is required as a condition of OOIL being sold for $6.3 billion to China Ocean Shipping Co., commonly known as COSCO.

OOIL and COSCO agreed to sell the terminal to appease the U.S. government’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. after the foreign investment committee expressed concerns about a Chinese state-owned entity taking control of a vital American container terminal.

A sale is expected to close by mid-2019, the JOC and Wall St. Journal said.

A financial adviser with knowledge of the deal told British shipping industry publication Fairplay this week that although giants in the shipping industry are expected to follow the sales process when it starts next month, those making serious bids are expected to include pension funds and investment companies.

Company spokesperson Mark Wong confirmed the sale of the Long Beach terminal is progressing, but would not comment further, according to a Journal of Commerce report. Port of Long Beach and LBCT officials could not be reached for comment Friday, Nov. 23.

LBCT’s new owner would take over a 40-year, $4.6 billion lease with the port that OOIL signed in 2012.

The purchaser of the LBCT would be expected to take over construction of the third and final phase of the Middle Harbor Redevelopment Project, a $1.5 billion effort to remake the Long Beach Container Terminal into a 311-acre mega-facility that can process 3.3 million cargo container annually.

COSCO also has a facility at the Port of Los Angeles, the West Basin Container Terminal, but it’s not being considered for divestment, according to the Wall St. Journal.


China's Cosco Puts Long Beach Container Terminal Up for Sale

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China's Cosco Shipping Holdings Co. is starting the process of selling its large container terminal in Long Beach, Calif., a major gateway for U.S. trade that is expected to bring bids of more than $1 billion from some of the world's biggest port operators, people involved in the matter said.

The sale is part of an agreement with U.S. regulators that gave Cosco the green light to buy Hong Kong-based container shipping line Orient Overseas International Ltd. for $6.3 billion in July.

Orient Overseas operates the Long Beach Container Terminal under a long-term concession. Cosco agreed earlier this year with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. to place it into a U.S-run trust and sell it within a year to allay national security concerns over a Chinese state entity running a major U.S. gateway.

Cfius has scuttled several international transactions in the past couple of years including Broadcom Ltd.'s $117 billion takeover of chip rival Qualcomm Inc. and the sale of MoneyGram International Inc. to Chinese billionaire Jack Ma's Ant Financial Services Group.

"Sale advisers are being hired and the expectation is for bids of more than $1 billion from global port operators and maybe pension funds and private equity," a person directly involved in the matter said. "The sale is being run by OOIL and should be completed by June at the latest."

The Long Beach terminal is one of the few in the U.S. with extensive automation and can handle some of the world's largest container vessels. The terminal is expanding to handle ships carrying more than 20,000 boxes each.

The Port of Long Beach is one of the biggest in the U.S., with more than 7.5 million containers moving in and out of the site last year, or about one fifth of U.S. trade volumes. Apart from OOIL, a number of foreign shipping operators have stakes in the port's terminals including Geneva-based Mediterranean Shipping Company and Japan's K Line.

People involved in the case said bids are likely from APM Terminals, the port operating arm of Danish logistics giant A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S, Japan's Ocean Network Express, Taiwan's Evergreen Marine, Hong Kong's Hutchison Port Holdings and South Korea's Hyundai Merchant Marine.

Seattle-based port operator SSA Terminals may also be in the running. DP World, one of the world's biggest container terminal operators, could offer a bid, but the Dubai-based company hasn't sought to own any U.S. properties since an effort to buy several American terminals in 2006 collapsed under political pressure and security concerns.

Cosco has minor investments in other U.S. ports, including another pier at Long Beach as well as at the ports of Los Angeles and Seattle.

Imports to U.S. seaports in the West Coast have been surging in recent months in an apparent push by retailers and manufacturers to pull orders forward ahead of a new round of tariffs set to hit U.S.-China trade in January.

Long Beach and the neighboring Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the nation's top hub for container trade and the main destination for imports from China, handled a combined 849,908 containers in October, up 17.7% from the same month last year and 10.2% from September.


Ontario airport surpasses Atlanta to become nation’s busiest outbound freight hub

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Ontario International Airport has always been a busy freight hub, but for at least one month it was the nation’s busiest for outbound shipments.

According to a monthly survey by FreightWaves, a trade journal that tracks the movement of goods, 4.63 percent of all goods shipped by American airports in October were loaded onto planes taking off at Ontario. In Atlanta, which had been the market leader for most of 2018, the outbound tally was 4.51 percent.

Air freight volume has increased sharply, on a year-to-year basis, in the two years since the Ontario International Airport Authority took local control over the Inland Empire’s main airport.  According to an ONT statement, in the first nine months of the year, 521,705 tons of freight volume moved through the airport, an 18 percent increase over the same period in 2017.

“Those operations are huge, and they’re growing. The tonnage is spectacular,” said economist John Husing, who monitors the Inland Empire’s logistics industry. “Part of the growth has to do with e-commerce, but it’s also imports in general, which are growing.”

United Parcel Service and Federal Express both operate regional shipping hubs at ONT, and Amazon also moves a considerable amount of goods there. Airport officials approved a 30-year lease arrangement with FedEx in June, and the company plans to develop 50 additional acres on the northeast side that will nearly triple Fed Ex’s current operating space, according to the ONT statement.

Much of the volume comes from freight that is unloaded at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and shipped on surface routes to the airport to be transported across the country, usually with stops in Inland warehouses.

Atlanta, which has one of the country’s largest airports, has been rated the busiest for outbound freight for most of the year, but according to FreightWaves’ research, the city had a slack October.

“The western ports have been overloaded with inboard containers from China, and this is a large factor why we are seeing this changing of the guard,” FreightWaves’ Zach Strickland wrote in his report. Analysts have noted a surge in foreign shipments as importers try to move more good in advance of possible tariffs.

Also, much of the goods offloaded at East Coast ports tend to travel only a few hundred miles to their final destination. Shipments to the West Coast often are shipped all over the country. Strickland also wrote that truck drivers could flock to the West Coast during the holiday season because there would be more work there.

After Los Angeles World Airports gave up control of ONT, local officials initiated a marketing campaign to increase both passenger and freight traffic, and Mark Thorpe, CEO of the airport authority, said it’s working on multiple fronts. To increase passenger flights, representatives travel to airline offices around the world pitching ONT, he said.

Advertising flight options to local travelers can vary, Thorpe said. China Airlines, which provides flights to Taiwan, prefers ads in traditional media, while JetBlue, which recently added routes to and from New York, uses social media and other more modern means.

There’s also the convenience advantage, Thorpe said, especially for passengers in places such as Orange County and the San Gabriel Valley.

“We try to have them think of about the value of time,” Thorpe said. “Is it really worth four hours on the road to save $100 on a ticket?”

On the freight side, Thorpe said the marketing is more of a business-to-business nature, which includes working with the established freight companies. When that happens, ONT is able to play to the Inland Empire’s strengths, which include the large network of warehouses and freeways that border the airport on three sides.

“That’s marketing,” he said. “You do the most you can do with the resources available, and you don’t try to be all things to all people.”


Long Beach clean water projects to receive millions of dollars in port grant funding

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Four stormwater control projects that aim to improve water quality in and around Long Beach will receive a total of $3 million from the Port of Long Beach as part of the port’s latest round of community grant funding, the port said Tuesday, Nov. 13.

The port’s five-member harbor commission unanimously approved the funding. Recipients include the City of Long Beach’s Public Works Department, which is receiving $1 million for its Long Beach Municipal Urban Stormwater, or LB MUST, treatment project. LB MUST aims to improve water quality by intercepting and treating wastewater flow during dry weather and stormwater runoff that normally discharges into the Los Angeles River. The project also includes adding about five acres of new coastal marsh and migratory watering areas by the river.

Also receiving $1 million is the Rancho Los Cerritos museum and garden in Long Beach’s Los Cerritos neighborhood, which plans to use the funds for a type of pavement that allows liquids to pass through it, plus an underground water storage tank.

Receiving $603,441 is the Long Beach Council of Camp Fire, which runs summer camp and club programs for local children, as well as community outreach programs. Its grant goes toward an environmentally friendly parking lot. Green parking lots typically have parking surfaces that allow better drainage of water than standard ones.

Additionally, the Willmore City Heritage Association will receive $440,000 for construction of a system that would use grass or other dense plants to filter out sediment and oily materials at the Willmore Heritage Garden at Seventh and Maine streets. It opened in 2012 as part of a neighborhood beautification project.


Ports Group Supports Senate Bill 3587

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The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) … the unified and recognized voice of America’s seaports … today voiced strong support for a bill (S.3587) introduced on Oct. 11 by Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), the ranking Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee. His proposed legislation would enhance the nation’s freight systems by making key investments in ports, railways and intermodal hubs.

Specifically, S. 3587 aims to improve the Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects Program, also known as INFRA, which was created as part of Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.

“The American Association of Port Authorities strongly supports Senator Carper’s legislative initiative that repeals the multimodal cap on the discretionary grant program created in the FAST Act,” said AAPA President and CEO Kurt Nagle. “Sustainable multimodal funding is a top AAPA priority and the association greatly appreciates the senator’s work to advance legislation that is both timely and very much needed.”

Of the $11 billion of freight funding provided in the FAST Act, only $1.13 billion is multimodal eligible, and of that, only $200 million in multimodal eligibility remains available for INFRA grants.

In an August 29, 2018 letter to Sen. Carper, Mr. Nagle wrote that AAPA appreciates the senator’s work on the FAST Act that created the first freight funding program in which ports are eligible recipients. “To build off the work in the Fast Act,” said Mr. Nagle, “AAPA believes that freight program funding should be 100 percent multimodal.” He added that since the FAST Act required states to complete state freight plans to receive additional FAST Act funding, 90 percent of states have complied. “This signals that states recognize the value of multimodal projects, and they recognize that ports are the linchpins for this activity.”

Cargo activities at America’s seaports are significant drivers of the U.S. economy, supporting more than 23 million American jobs and generating over $320 billion in annual federal, state and local taxes. All but 1 percent of the nation’s overseas trade moves through its maritime facilities, and U.S. seaport cargo activities account for more than one-quarter of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.


Classification Concern - New Jersey law on trucker classification has owner-operators on edge

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Port and trucking leaders are watching for any impact on the already stretched drayage fleet at the Port of New York and New Jersey from a new state rule that truckers say will make it more difficult for owner-operator drivers to prove they are independent businesses rather than employees.

The rule, which took effect on Sept. 17, erased an existing state rule known as the 20-factor test that the New Jersey Department of Labor formerly used to determine whether an independent contractor was truly independent, or actually so much under control of a trucking company that the company was effectively an employer and the driver an employee.

Owner-operators now have to ask the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for letter stating they are an independent operator, or provide an IRS audit that shows it, to prove their independence to obtain exemption from federal employer taxes.

Whether that change will have a significant effect on the port's fleet and its ability to handle growing cargo volume - which increased 8.2 percent in the first seven months of this year - is unclear. The number of trucekrs affected, however, is potentially large: Trucks transport about 85 percent of the port's cargo, and independent contractors operate about 85 percent of the roughly 9,000 trucks that serve the port.

Drayage capacity at New York - New Jersey and other big US ports has tightened dramatically because of a driver shortage that has plagued all of trucking for year, rising cargo volumes, and the requirement that drivers document their hours with electronic logging devices.

The Teamsers union, which pushed for the rule change, believes a large proportion of the port's owner-operators could be found o be employees under the new rule. Truckers say the impat could range from merely creating an "administrative headache" for drivers to prompting some to leave the port, and perhaps the indusstry. John Nardi, president of the New York shipping Association, which opposed the rule change, said it will be watching for impacts from the new rule, and is concerned that it will prevent the port from having robust drayage capacity.

However, the New Jersey Labor Department, which declined to comment on the rule change, depicted it in the New Jersey Register, where its enactment was reported, as a relatively minor rule adjustment that would clarify confusion over the problem of the state interpreting federal rules.

The impact of the rule may also be muted by the fact that the issue of classification mainly emerges when the New Jersey Labor Department conducts an audit of a company, a relatively infrequent occurrence.

The rule reflects a battle waged sporadically at US ports over whether owner-operator drives are independent businesses or are actually employees of drayage companies.

Tests to determine whether a worker is an independent worker, or is an employee - andwhether they are misclassified - focus on the control exerted by the contracting company over the worker. In the trucking context, that generally includes issues such as whether the driver works for more than one company, the control they have over their workflow and what jobs they take, and who bought or funded the purchase of their truck and other equipment.

Companies misclassify employees for reasons including an effort to avoid paying overtime, vacation time, and other benefits companies would be requred to pay if the drivers were classified as employees.

At a minimum, trucking leaders say the new rule presents another burden on independent operators, who are by nature small operators with few extra resources with which to handle a required application to the IRS.

"It's more a difficult path... It just makes it more difficult in an industry already suffering from a lot of other difficulties," said Gail Toth, executve director of the New Jersey Motor Truck Association, which opposes the rule change. "we've had people that submitted a request to the IRS and they never got answered...It just seems to be a maneuver to make it much more difficult for people to be independent contractors in the state of New Jersey."

At worst, the rules could push independent contractors that fail the test - and are found to be employees - out of the port, said Tom Adamski, agent for First Coast Logistics, who represents the NJMTA's intermodal council.

"It will drive people out of the business without quesstion," said Adamski, who said the port's drayage fleet has been built on the fact that New Jersey's regulations have made it relatively easy for owner-operators to exist. He suggested that drivers who face difficulty obtaining the IRS designation may opt to ply their trade in nearby ports, such as Philadelphia or Baltimore. And some truckers designated as employees may leave drayage and take a position in other sectors of the trucking industry that are more lucrative, he said.

Edisson Villacis, an independent drayage operator in the Port of New York and New Jersey who runs a Facebook page for drivers, said he doesn't believe many independent operators want to be employees because they're reluctant to give up the ability to set their own hours and workloads - reasons they got into the business in the first place.

John Vreeland, a labor attorney whose firm has handled transportation cases in New Jersey, said he believes the rule is a "pretty big change," with potentially sweeping consequenes. Truckers may be reluctant to seek the IRS designation, fearing that an adverse ruling could trigger an audit of their past tax payment practices, and may therefore face a tougher test if later confronted by the Labor Department, he said.


NY-NJ PNCT’s new gates halve reefer turn times

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New entry gates opened 11 weeks ago at the Port Newark Container Terminal (PNCT) in the Port of New York and New Jersey that are the latest stage of the terminal’s $500 million upgrade to prepare for an increase in mega-ship calls have already helped halve turn times for refrigerated containers.

The fruits of the upgrade are unfolding as the terminal, in a separate effort to improve fluidity for refrigerated containers, is about to test a program in which truckers and shippers looking to pick up or drop off a reefer at the terminal can pay $80 to do so after the normal closing time in a sort of pay-to-play extended gate. The pilot is part of the terminal’s Flex program, begun in February, which enabled truckers or shippers that paid $95.50 to get one of the first 50 gate slots in the day.

New gates — only two stages

The new gates, which opened July 16, have pared the old three-stage process to two stages, in the process reducing turn times on dry boxes by about 20 percent, terminal officials say.

The gate system is part of a terminal-wide project that includes expanding the terminal’s 263-acre footprint, improving its electrical, global positioning, and Wi-Fi equipment, and adding four super-post-Panamax cranes, two of which arrived in the spring. Two more will arrive in the coming months and 20 new straddle carriers are also set to arrive this year.

All of the port’s four main terminals have undergone varying levels of upgrade in preparation for the surge in mega-ship calls expected in the wake of the opening of the elevated Bayonne Bridge, in June 2017, and the expanded Panama Canal, in June 2016. The elevation of the bridge, from 151 to 215 feet, enabled ships of 9,500 TEU for the first time to reach three of the port’s four main terminals — PNCT, Maher Terminals, and APM Terminals. Before the elevation, vessels of that size could only reach GCT Bayonne.

In a second major upgrade under way at New York-New Jersey, APM Terminals is spending $200 million on a modernization effort that includes four new cranes, an appointment system, and the strengthening of a berth so that the terminal can handle three mega-ships at once.

PNCT officials previously predicted the new gates would cut turn times in the port by 25 percent, and they are confident that they will hit that goal once the final phase of the gate redesign — shrinking the process down to a single stage — is completed in about six months’ time.

“We're optimistic it can go higher than 25 [percent] based on the results we've seen already,” said Chris Garbarino, PNCT’s chief operating officer. The terminal did not release turn time figures.

Mega-ships: potentially large, intense unloading/loading bursts

In the run up to the completion of the Bayonne Bridge project, port stakeholders anticipated that the frequent arrival of big ships, requiring intense loading and unloading of large volumes of cargo in a short time, would stress the port’s equipment supply, drayage fleet, and other resources. So far, however, that has not happened — in large part because although the port has seen an increase in mega-ship arrivals, the rise in cargo flow has not been that large. Many of the cargo loads and unloads have been about the same as those that have arrived on smaller ships in the past.

PNCT said 75 ships that previously could not fit under the bridge have arrived at the terminal in the 15 months since the elevation of the bridge, or about five a month. The number of mega-ships arriving at the port as a whole has surged in recent months. Nearly 19 ships of more than 10,000 TEU a month arrived at the port between May and July 2018, compared with about seven a month from July to September 2017, immediately after the elevated bridge opened, according to figures from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

By the end of the year, PNCT’s development will have increased the terminal’s capacity from 1.5 million TEU, of which the terminal utilizes on average 87 percent, to 2 million TEU, with an increase to 2.3 million TEU by the end of 2019, according to PNCT officials. A wharf improvement project, including the dredging of 400 feet of berth space, will enable the terminal to handle two 14,000-TEU mega-ships at a time, instead of one at present.

The improved reefer turn times stem in large part from a terminal redesign that has put reefer stacks, generating equipment, and labor working on them closer together, and by increasing the number of reefer lanes from two to six, PNCT officials said.

Reefer cargo volumes worldwide grew by 8 percent in 2017, over the year before, and are expected to expand by 4.5 percent a year for the next several years, in part due to a trend towards moving such goods in containers, and away from bulk ships, according to Drewry.

The Port of New York and New Jersey is the largest port on the East Coast by loaded reefer volume. But the port’s market share has declined since 2010, from 23.8 percent to 19.1 percent in 2017, according to data from PIERS, a sister product of In second-place, the Port of Wilmington, Delaware, has also seen its share decline over the period, from 13.4 percent to 12.3 percent, while the share of third-ranked Port of Philadelphia has grown from 7.9 percent in 2010 to 11.2 percent in 2017, the figures show.

New York-New Jersey’s share of the reefer market ticked up to 19.04 percent in the first seven months of 2018, handling 152,802 TEU, the PIERS figures show. The port’s reefer cargo volume increased by 7.8 percent over that period, compared with the period in 2017, PIERS figures show. Wilmington’s reefer share rose to 12.8 percent and Philadelphia increased its market share to 12.34 percent, over the same period, the figures show. The Port of Philadelphia is expected to face a challenge for market share in the coming years from Wilmington, 30 miles or so nearer to the mouth of the Delaware River, where United Arab Emirates-based Gulftainer has signed a 50-year agreement to operate the Port of Wilmington, and spend $600 million to quintuple its cargo capacity.

Possible appointment system

Jim Pelliccio, president and CEO of PNCT, said the terminal is considering implementing an appointment system next year, mainly to improve the flow of information rather than improve fluidity, because the terminals’ new gate system has already done that, he said. GCT Bayonne opened the first appointment system in the port in December 2016.

The gate redesign has freed up workers to focus on other areas, among them the dry-container Flex program, which PNCT officials say has drawn a steady stream of users willing to pay extra to get on of the first slots of the day, usually to pick up or drop off time-sensitive cargo or to ensure they meet a delivery deadline. The program enables truckers to not only start early, but to jump the line of trucks that typically assembles at the terminal gates before it opens at 6 a.m. and get served immediately, Garbarino said.

The program is a smaller, trial version of larger-scale programs used in other ports that offer improved service to beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) that are willing to pay more and also seek to improve the general fluidity of trucks in and out of the port. In Southern California, the ports of Los Angeles-Long Beach are mulling a flat fee of $63.04 per FEU on both the day and night shifts, to replace the congestion pricing fee of $144.14 per FEU that the ports levied 13 years ago on trucks arriving during the day shift.

Other ports are charging a fee to pay for longer gate hours, among them the port of Montreal, which this summer began charging a $35 per container flat fee that enabled the port terminal to open until 11 p.m., instead of closing at about 2:30 p.m. in the past.

The Flex program for reefers is like a smaller version of an extended-gate program. Truckers or BCOs can pay $80 to pick up or drop off a refrigerated container later than the usual closing time of 4:30 p.m. The appointments could be booked by an app on the truckers’ mobile phone that the terminal has developed, similar to the one currently available for the early morning slots, Garbarino said.

“In a lot of cases it's going to generate one additional reefer [move] — receive or deliver one more move by having that additional time,” Garbarino said. “We've talked with some of the trucking companies that handle a lot of refrigerated cargo and there definitely is interest, and they can see that there would be times where they would definitely see the advantage to having an option like that.”


L.A. City Council to consider voiding port land-use agreement with troubled trucking company

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The Los Angeles City Council could take the rare step this week of voiding a land-use agreement that the Port of Los Angeles has already approved, an aftershock of an ongoing battle with organized labor.

On Friday, Oct. 12, the council is expected to consider whether to deny a land-use permit for trucking company California Transload Services, which wants to continue using 85 acres of city-owned property at 2401 E. Pacific Coast Highway for shipment transferring and truck staging.

The harbor commission approved the agreement Sept. 20, but the tenant, Long Beach-based California Transload, is one of two cargo handlers, along with XPO Logistics, that were picketed by striking truck drivers Oct. 1-3.

The drivers say California Transload misclassifies its truckers as independent contractors instead of employees, and that being classified as contractors robs them of eligibility for benefits such as vacation time, sick pay and workers’ compensation. California Transload’s parent company, NFI Industries, however, has said that most of its drivers prefer the freedom of being contractors.

Because of the ongoing dispute, the city’s Trade, Travel and Tourism Committee is recommending that the City Council pull out of the deal.

“Over the past three years, there have been various violations of, and current investigations into, labor, employment, health and safety, and tax laws,” a report on the matter by the committee said. “It is imperative that the city ensures that operations at the Port of Los Angeles are not affected by labor disruption.”

The truckers’ action earlier this month against California Transload Services and XPO was the 16th small-scale strike at the port in the past five years. But it took place after CTS and the port reached an agreement under which the port would receive about $447,000 per month – more than $5 million annually – for use of the land.

About 700 containers move into and out of the facility daily, representing 2.5 percent of the total import containers transiting the docks, according to port data.

The City Council meeting is scheduled for 10 am. Friday.


Dozens of Teamsters and their supporters were arrested while protesting near the ports of L.A., Long Beach. This is why

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The Teamsters wrapped up three days of protesting unfair treatment of port truck drivers by doing something on Wednesday, Oct. 3, that they said had never been done in the union’s 115-year history: they got arrested — intentionally.

Over the past three days, hundreds of teamsters picketed at and near marine terminals, rail yards, warehouses and distribution centers across Southern California, including those that support the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, as a way to protest what they say is the misclassification of workers as independent contractors rather than employees. Workers have long argued that being classified as contractors  robs them benefits such as vacation time, sick pay and workers’ compensation.

So on Wednesday afternoon, the pickets culminated their efforts to drum up publicity and support by marching from the Wilmington Waterfront Park to the corner of Figueroa Street and John S. Gibson Boulevard, holding hands and sitting in a circle in the middle of the intersection, and chanting slogans — effectively blocking the 110 Freeway onramp.

So on Wednesday afternoon, the pickets culminated their efforts to drum up publicity and support by marching from the Wilmington Waterfront Park to the corner of Figueroa Street and John S. Gibson Boulevard, holding hands and sitting in a circle in the middle of the intersection, and chanting slogans — effectively blocking the 110 Freeway onramp.

After about 15 minutes, Los Angeles police officers ordered them to leave. When they refused, the officers arrested them one at a time.

The Teamster have shut down the Harry Bridges entrance to the N 110 Freeway in a display of civil disobedience. 40-50 people have volunteered to be arrested for the protest.

The civil disobedience, however, was worked out with police in advance, the Teamsters said: Before the rally, union organizers notified the Los Angeles Police Department that they would block traffic, so when they arrived, the police and California Highway Patrol officers were waiting for them.

“They’re going to keep striking until they get justice,” she said of the disgruntled drivers. “They’re going to keep striking, they’re going to keep filing lawsuits, they’re going to keep filing claims with the California Labor Commissioner.”