THE ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach plan to introduce a Clean Truck Fee (CTF) to bring new clean vehicles
into the system and provide a fund to help finance that transition.
Subsequently, the twin ports have
approved a fee on containers of US$10 per TEU, American Shipper
reported. The new levy "shall not apply to zero emissions trucks, which
shall be exempt for the duration of the programme."
A report published last month spelled out the balancing act that
officials needed to consider: "Both ports have already experienced a
steady reduction in market share for more than a decade," it said. "A
high added cost may have the potential to accelerate that trend."
The report and the resolution both note that putting a rate up at $70
per TEU would divert 1.4 per cent of cargo from the two ports. Even at
$18, it is expected there would be diversion to other ports. The port
staff's recommendation published in February estimated up to a
17,000-TEU diversion if the CTF were set at $5, and up to 241,000 TEU at
the $70 level. That 241,000 would represent the 1.4 per cent figure.
Harbour Trucking Association CEO Weston LaBar was critical of the new
levy. "We have heard from many [beneficial cargo owners] that enough is
enough," he said in an email to FreightWaves.
"Costs keep rising and they are starting to make plans to move volume
elsewhere. This is just the most recent example of fees that are not
going to operational efficiencies or providing a value add to the
customers who use our twin ports."
Ironically, the report said some trucking companies wanted a higher rate
because they foresaw a bigger pot of funds from CTF collections that
would enable the purchase of a greater number of clean vehicles. "Other
stakeholders seek a higher rate as an incentive to push truckers into
newer equipment," the report said.
There's another factor at work: Older trucks are more economically
competitive than newer vehicles. Even with a big CTF, the report said,
they won't get trucking companies to divest themselves of existing
vehicles, the report said.