Ports Issue New Proposal on Pressing Issue
The ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach California are very important to the nation’s freight economy. The SoCal area is known for more than moving imports, however, with labor disputes marring the reputation of the area and putting companies under the public spotlight.
With some drivers claiming they were tricked into lease-to-own schemes and forced to work for less than a dollar per day, trucking in SoCal has been compared to indentured servitude. Everyone from carriers to regulators to retail giants have been accused of profiting from the scheme, and many protestors have demanded action.
While the issue with workers is one of the most controversial ones in trucking today, the port area is focusing on another issue – emissions. The green movement has been going strong and gaining steam in trucking for years now, and a multi-billion dollar strategy has been launched by port companies to slash emissions and improve freight efficiency at the nation’s two largest ports.
The 73-page plan aims to achieve true zero-emission levels at ports in less than 20 years. This move is expected to have a huge impact on companies in the area that bring imports to nearby forwarding points.
The plan calls for railways to play a greater role in moving freight from ports, nearly doubling the 26 percent of goods they handle in the present. The plan also updates the Clean Air Action Plan issued in 2006, and the change is subject to a 60-day review and commenting period before any changes are implemented.
The update is estimated to cost between $7 and $14 billion, and the idea was put together over the course of more than 50 meetings and workshops over the past two years. Members of the freight industry, safety regulators, and environmental specialists were present at these meetings, allowing a broad and diverse amount of relevant perspectives to help shape the new policies.
Low-emission engines and renewable energy are also part of the draft, serving as a standard for the rest of the freight industry to follow. The plan isn’t perfect, and some experts argue it relies too heavily on unproven technology in its current state. One of the ports’ executive directors claimed they were going where no port had gone before.