May 16, 2008 2:30 PM, EDT

L.A. Port Votes to Ban Owner-Operators by 2013

Larry Smith/Trans Pixs

Port of Los Angeles officials voted late Thursday to ban independent truck drivers from the port by the end of 2013, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reported Friday.

The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners unanimously agreed to a phased-in schedule that will require trucking companies to hire drivers as employees by Dec. 31, 2013, the paper said.

Trucking companies will be allowed to use a mix of employees and independent drivers when the port’s new $1.6 billion Clean Trucks Program begins Oct. 1, the Press-Telegram said, citing port officials.

Under its clean-trucks plan set to take effect in October, the neighboring Port of Long Beach will not ban independent drayage drivers. Together, the two sister ports make up the largest U.S. port complex.

American Trucking Associations has said it will sue to block the plan because of the ban on independent truckers.

At the Port of Los Angeles, by the end of next year, 20% of a trucking company’s fleet must be made up of employees, the Press-Telegram reported.

The requirement rises to 66% employees by the end of 2010; 85% by the end of 2011; 95% by the end of 2012 and full compliance by the end of 2013, the paper said.

Port officials said that the plan will hold trucking companies accountable for fleet maintenance, while employing properly credentialed drivers, it said.

Currently, more than 85% of the 17,000 short-haul trucks operating at the twin port complex are independent drivers, who earn about $11 to $12 per hour after expenses, the Press-Telegram reported.

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