If a proposed federal rule is enacted, it will effectively replace the decades-long dominance of the independent contractor model in trucking with an employee-driver model.
Lisa Yakomin, president of the Association of Bi-State Motor Carriers, says conditions have improved for truckers working the Port of New York/New Jersey. That’s the good news, but falling cargo volumes are a worry.
American Trucking Associations, the Association of Bi-State Motor Carriers and the Harbor Trucking Association jointly support a recently released Notice of Proposed Rulemaking from FMC that seeks to expand the timeliness and overall level of detail and transparency for detention and demurrage invoices coming from common carrier billing parties that provide ocean carriage and storage of freight. OSRA also requires the commission to address the issue of which parties can be billed for these charges in the first place.
The Association of Bi-State Motor Carriers, which represents intermodal trucking firms at the port, has long pushed for accelerating the evacuation of empties due to the constraints their repositioning imposes on drivers. In a statement to JOC.com, Bi-State President Lisa Yakomin said that the group’s members are seeing some respite from dealing with empties, but there are still instances where drivers are forced to drive miles from the port to unload an empty or get blocked from returning an empty to the port due to a lack of terminal appointments.
“While we have seen some ocean carriers step up their efforts to evacuate empties following the announcement of the ‘container imbalance fee,’ motor carriers are still experiencing shut outs on a daily basis due to lack of available space and/or lack of appointment availability,” Yakomin said.
California has passed AB 2406, a new state law concerning per diem charges imposed by intermodal marine equipment providers or intermodal marine terminal operators. Governor Gavin Newsom signed the bill to stop “extended dwell charges on a motor carrier, beneficial cargo owner, or other intermediary relative to transactions involving cargo shipped by intermodal transport.”
Trucking companies are pushing ocean carriers and port officials to clear a pileup of empty containers at the East Coast’s largest port that has exacerbated chassis constraints and disrupted operations.
NY-NJ marine terminals have been almost constantly offering Saturday gates over the last two years to help move import volumes, but those gates have accounted for only about 5 percent of total truck transactions.
Ocean carriers and marine terminals should be forced to share more accurate container storage data to improve cargo flows at the Port of New York and New Jersey, according to trucking companies serving the facility.
The truckers are seething with disgust over the fees they must pay for holding containers — up to $150 per day per box. The carriers will not release their cargo until invoices are paid. This is ransom, one says.
After a meeting last week at the Port of New York and New Jersey, US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) chairman Daniel Maffei said: “When ocean carriers continue to bring thousands of containers per month to a port and only pick up a fraction of that number, it creates an untenable situation for terminals, importers and exporters, trucking companies, and the port itself.