Port to Consider Simplified Cargo Claiming
September 11, 2009
The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners on Monday, September 14, will consider eliminating a requirement that obligates most importers and exporters to claim and pre-pay a Clean Trucks Program fee. The move would have no effect on the program's clean air goals, but would eliminate a bureaucratic step that has become unnecessary.
Under the proposal, developed in cooperation with "PortCheck" and Port of Long Beach Marine Terminal Operators, only importers and exporters using older, more polluting trucks to move cargo would have to claim their containers and pay the Clean Trucks Fee.
While the Clean Trucks Program pre-payment did not involve additional direct fees, cargo owners have reported the requirement resulted in extra costs and onerous administrative burdens.
“We’ve been listening to our industry partners, and this proposal is the direct result of their feedback,” said Alex Cherin, the Port’s Managing Director for Trade Relations and Port Operations. “This change will make it easier for importers and exporters to move cargo through Long Beach while continuing to meet our clean air goals.”
The proposed change would require payment only from cargo owners who use older, polluting trucks. Most cargo (the majority of which is moved with clean trucks or on-dock rail) would be exempt from the requirement.
The staff recommendation is a response to suggestions from cargo owners who said the pre-payment unnecessarily complicates the Port’s Clean Trucks Program, which is aimed at replacing older, dirtier vehicles with clean trucks to reduce air pollution by 80 percent by 2012.
In addition, the Clean Trucks Program is cleaning the air far ahead of schedule. Already, 85 percent of all containers moved through the Port of Long Beach are carried by clean trucks or on-dock trains.
The Clean Trucks Program currently requires all cargo owners (importers and exporters) to claim and pre-pay a Clean Trucks Fee that is used to help finance new, less polluting trucks. The pre-paid fee is then refunded to importers and exporters after their cargo is moved by clean trucks or on-dock trains. The Port only keeps the fee from those who use the older, polluting trucks.
If approved by the Board, this action will eliminate the unnecessary administrative burden associated with cargo moved by clean trucks. The new rule is targeted to take effect on November 1, 2009.