Searchable Goods Movement Timeline

Welcome to the METRANS Goods Movement Timeline. This is a searchable timeline of activities tied to goods movement, logistics and international trade based upon items from the popular press.

Given our location and the importance of this region as an international trade gateway, many of the entries pertain to Southern California. We do however draw from state and national press as well. Some articles' links may have expired, or you may have to pay a fee or register on the Web site where they originally appeared to access the complete article. Our goal however is to provide the researcher with enough information to track significant events over time as they have occurred in key areas like legislation, finance, and security.

This timeline grew out of timelines initially developed for METRANS research projects in the area of goods movement. Earlier entries (before 2005) were therefore not prepared with a searchable database in mind and will be less detailed. We hope, however, that they remain a useful resource.

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Jun 17, 2017

Port truckers don’t want clean air rules to eat up their paycheck

Online Edition

Domingo Avalos is all for clean air and blue skies. But he’s also in favor of paying the rent.

The port trucker says he logs lots of 12-14-hour workdays in his diesel rig, but he still has trouble making ends meet.

Last week’s media event — starring the mayors of Los Angeles and Long Beach proudly proclaiming their march toward emissions-free ports — sent chills through Avalos and officials of his union.

The effort to clean up the port, one of the region’s biggest polluters, will cost tens of billions of dollars over the coming decades.

No one’s arguing for dirtier air. But who foots this idealistic but mammoth bill? That’s not clear.

Avalos hope it isn’t him. “We want clean air, too, but they need to raise the wages, the freight price,” he said. “They pass the cost on to us.”

It’s the latest turn in a real-world survival drama for trucking companies and portside drivers.

For years many have invested in diesel rigs and other aging tech, gear that could be rendered out of date in a state pushing for an all-green transit future.

Avalos, a trucker for more than two decades, remembers when securing a functioning truck was much cheaper.

The ports were often the last stop for road-wearier vehicles, helmed by penny-pinching owner-operators who needed to cut expenses and squeeze extra years out of their gear to make a living.

Sure, short-haul trucks were often older and dirtier, but they got the job done, he recalled.

The new, high-tech, cleaner-burning trucks can top a half-million each — not a figure that most freelance drivers keep in the glove box.

Unions and trucking companies have grappled for decades, amid bitterness and strikes and lawsuits, over the employment status of today’s trucker. That’s not going to get easier as the skies get clearer.

Drivers say some transit companies, which force them to buy or lease their own equipment and pay their own expenses, are robbing them by categorizing them as independent contractors. They say they’re getting boondoggled out of overtime and medical benefits.

But company officials say contractors are not employees meriting such benefits because they set their own schedules and choose their own gear — and that many appreciate the freedom this affords them.

Meanwhile, with California breaking away from the Trump administration’s plans to revitalize the industries and regions of the nation that tap legacy fuels like oil and coal, the devotion to an emissions-free dream burns hotter than ever in the Golden State’s Legislature and governor’s mansion.

It’s unclear if they’ll deliver funding, too — or if that will fall hard on the ports, the logistics companies, the truckers, the consumers who snap up the goods they carry — or all of the above.

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia hopes teamwork will help fuel a funding formula.

“We need to work with our truckers, our terminal operator and the community,” Garcia said, “to make sure they are part of the conversation.”

Truckers say they want clean air — but not at their expense.

“We are all for zero emissions, but if you are going to go do that you have to find a way so that workers don’t pay for it,” said Eric Tate, secretary-treasurer for Teamsters union Local 848.

Last week, the local announced about 100 truck drivers will go on strike this week. They’re protesting several companies — including California Cartage and XPO Logistics — that use contract workers rather than employ them as full-time, hourly workers.

The business model is common at the ports.

But Tate argues the arrangement unfairly burdens truckers, who often wind up renting or leasing trucks from the companies.

Those lease payments could climb if ambitious environmental standards are imposed on truckers by the ports.

Electric big rigs and other nonpolluting diesel alternatives cost about $500,000 each. And there are about 16,000 trucks that serve the port.

One Los Angeles harbor commissioner last week said the price at the ports could easily top $8 billion, if not more — and that’s just to pay for cleaner trucks.

Already, the costs of leasing can leave some drivers paying so much that their salaries drop below minimum wage, the union says, and they aren’t afforded workplace protections granted to regular employees.

Officials at the companies maintain it’s a choice truckers themselves make — and a spokesperson for one of the companies being targeted, XPO Logistics, said the arrangement works well for many.

“We know firsthand that the majority of owner-operators prefer to work as independent contractors, and we will continue to advocate for their right to do so,” she said.

But 53-year old Avalos, who works for XPO, disagrees.

“These companies are abusing us. They act like we aren’t employees and we are,” he said.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters union has launched an aggressive campaign, Justice for Port Drivers, to stop the practice.

Last week’s announcement marked the effort’s 15th strike in the past four years. And since 2011, port truck drivers have filed at least 875 claims with the state Department of Labor Standards Enforcement, according to the union.

In 376 cases, drivers were found to be employees and owed about $40 million in stolen wages and penalties. More than 100 other cases are still pending, while hundreds more appear to be settled out of court or dealt with by a private arbitrator.

Across the country, drivers and union officials have long decried the owner-operator model. But the problem is especially acute at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, where a decade ago both cities required truckers to purchase newer, cleaner vehicles.

“When the port imposed the clean-air plan, a lot of companies forced the drivers to take out leases on the trucks and the drivers weren’t making enough money to support the lease,” said David Bensman, professor at the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations.

At the center of the plan was a clean-trucks program. It banned older trucks from the port and, through subsidies, encouraged the purchase of trucks fueled by liquefied natural gas. The result: Significantly reduced diesel pollution.

At the time, then-Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa included a provision in the program to force all companies that do business with the port of Los Angeles to enlist drivers as hourly employees rather than independent contractors.

The idea: Prevent companies from rolling the cost of buying, fueling, maintaining and fixing trucks over to drivers.

But the American Trucking Association challenged the rules and eventually prevailed in the Supreme Court.

Once again, the two cities are considering updating the plan. An early draft released last year suggest there will be even tougher restrictions — demanding all trucks entering the port release no emissions by 2035. A new version will be released this summer.

“The only way that the system is going to make sense is if the trucking companies and trucks don’t make the drivers pay leases on the new trucks,” Bensman said. “The ports and the mayors should be working with the trucking companies to figure out a way the companies can buy the trucks and recoup the money by charging higher freight rates.”

“Sustainability and economic prosperity are not mutually exclusive,” a spokesperson for L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said, “and the mayor is committed to making sure that our truckers are not burdened unfairly with the costs of meeting these goals.”

But just how — and when — the mayor and his Long Beach environmental partner will make good on the promise is unclear.

Garcia said it’s important to remember that these aren’t overnight goals.

“Neighborhoods around Los Angeles and Long Beach ports historically have had some of the worst air quality in the county and we have to push, and, of course, work with everyone to make sure that we are meeting those goals. We think they are achievable and realistic,” he said.

Time may ease the burden; policy-makers are betting the cost of now cutting-edge technology will fall dramatically as the years pass.

Trucking companies and drivers aren’t as optimistic. They worry about emissions-cutting fervor leading to an overly ambitious timetable. They are already lobbying hard to ensure that the ports don’t force costly zero-emission vehicles on them too soon.

“It’s irresponsible to set hard deadlines when the technology doesn’t exist today,” said Weston LaBar, executive director of the Harbor Trucking Association, which represents more than 65 percent of the roughly 1,000 trucking firms in Southern California. “The cost and operability doesn’t make sense in the industry — not for a company and not for an independent contractor.”

Online Edition

Domingo Avalos is all for clean air and blue skies. But he’s also in favor of paying the rent.

The port trucker says he logs lots of 12-14-hour workdays in his diesel rig, but he still has trouble making ends meet.

Last week’s media event — starring the mayors of Los Angeles and Long Beach proudly proclaiming their march toward emissions-free ports — sent chills through Avalos and officials of his union.

Jun 19, 2017

Striking truck drivers slow traffic at LA, Long Beach ports

Online Edition

L.A.’s mammoth hub, the nation’s busiest container port, reported about 60 picketers outside six different container terminals around 10 a.m., causing occasional traffic delays. But officials said operations inside the gates were not delayed.

“Cargo operations are ongoing at all terminals with occasional traffic delays,” said Phil Sanfield, a spokesman for the Port of Los Angeles.

In Long Beach, a handful of protesters were striking outside three terminals. Officials there also said operations continued as usual.

Backed by the International Brotherhood Teamsters and Local 848, representing about 500 port drivers, those on the picket lines are calling for several port trucking companies to end the practice of hiring drivers as independent contractors. The union is pushing for full-time status for the drivers, including overtime and options for medical and other benefits.

Protests targeted Connecticut-based XPO Logisitics Inc. on Monday, but the strike will expand over the coming days to include more drivers at other trucking companies and will last until the end of the week. This marks the 15th strike in the past four years. Those walking the picket line receive some compensation through a union hardship fund.

“XPO and many other trucking companies are violating workers’ rights by refusing to recognizing they are employees,” said Barb Maynard, who has been organizing port truck drivers for four years as part of Teamster campaign. “This means lower wages, they don’t get benefits like social security, worker’s compensation and their boss can evade the laws that protect workers like minimum wage, overtime and health and safety rules.”

Plus she said, “these companies aren’t paying payroll taxes.”

Union officials said since 2011, port truck drivers have filed at least 875 claims with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. In 376 cases, drivers were found to be employees and owed about $40 million in stolen wages and penalties. More than 100 other cases are still pending, while hundreds more appear to be settled out of court or dealt with by a private arbitrator.

Trucking companies defend such practices, saying they allow drivers to choose their schedules and other freedoms.

There about 16,000 port drivers — most are independent contractors.

Last week, a representative from XPO said the arrangement works well for many drivers.

Online Edition

L.A.’s mammoth hub, the nation’s busiest container port, reported about 60 picketers outside six different container terminals around 10 a.m., causing occasional traffic delays. But officials said operations inside the gates were not delayed.

“Cargo operations are ongoing at all terminals with occasional traffic delays,” said Phil Sanfield, a spokesman for the Port of Los Angeles.

In Long Beach, a handful of protesters were striking outside three terminals. Officials there also said operations continued as usual.

Jun 20, 2017

Striking LA, Long Beach port truckers picket for 2nd day

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Striking trurckers at Long Beach City Hall

SCNG

By Rachel Uranga, Long Beach Press Telegram

Posted: 06/20/17, 9:46 AM PDT | Updated: 2 days ago

2 Comments

Picketing port truck divers stand outside Mayor Garcia’s 14th floor office demanding to see him in Long Beach on Tuesday. (Photo by Scott Varley, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

About 75 protesters marched through downtown Long Beach Tuesday in support of big-rig drivers who’ve walked off the job this week to protest trucking companies’ labor policies.

Truckers also continued their picketing at terminals at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

The demonstration marks the second day of what’s expected to be a five-day strike of about 100 truckers. Backed by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and Local 848, drivers say they should be treated as employees rather than independent contractors. The change would make it easier for the union to organize employees, officials said.

Carrying signs that say “wage theft stops here,” the supporters and drivers called on Long Beach and Los Angeles city officials to ban companies that employ the practice from the port.

“The mayors must put an end to the toxic scam now to protect workers and to safeguard the public interest at the ports from the labor caused by misclassification,” said Barbara Maynard, a Teamster union spokesperson.

Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa attempted to block companies that use independent contractors but was defeated after the American Trucking Association challenged the rule.

The employment arrangement allows employees to forgo some worker protections, the truckers say, and it cheats them of earned wages and benefits. Trucking companies argue that the owner-operator approach provides truckers with the freedom to pick their own schedules and practices — and that many prefer that structure.

The strikers are targeting three companies: Connecticut-based XPO Logistics, Chinese-owned Intermodal Transport and California Cartage Company, a trucking and distribution company that leases land from the Los Angeles port.

Speaking at Long Beach City Hall Tuesday afternoon, Dwayne Wilson, a warehouse worker from California Cartage, said the employees have to pay for basic equipment like steel-toed boots, back braces and rain vests.

“They’re stealing wages from employees,” Wilson said at the rally. “The port drivers are dealing with it, too. It’s a really corrupt business that they’re running.”

Protesters also marched in front of several of those companies’ locations — sites in Rancho Dominguez, Wilmington and Commerce.

Neither port reported a major disruption in service, and cargo continued to flow. The strikers represent only a sliver of the 16,000-plus trucks serving the port.

“They are being allowed to picket and the trucks are coming in and out of the terminals,” said Lee Peterson, a spokesman at the Port of Long Beach.

Workers are being helped financially through a hardship fund.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia recently announced a goal of requiring zero emission trucks at the ports by 2035.

“We support clean air, but there was no mention on how this Clean Air Action Plan would impact the drivers. We are concerned about who will end up paying for it,” said Eric Tate, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 848.

Online Edition

Striking trurckers at Long Beach City Hall

SCNG

By Rachel Uranga, Long Beach Press Telegram

Posted: 06/20/17, 9:46 AM PDT | Updated: 2 days ago

2 Comments

Picketing port truck divers stand outside Mayor Garcia’s 14th floor office demanding to see him in Long Beach on Tuesday. (Photo by Scott Varley, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

About 75 protesters marched through downtown Long Beach Tuesday in support of big-rig drivers who’ve walked off the job this week to protest trucking companies’ labor policies.

Dec 05, 2012

L.A. ports reopen after crippling 8-day strike ends

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Port clerks returned to work Wednesday, jubilant in the knowledge that an eight-day strike that paralyzed the nation's busiest shipping complex had won them — at least for now — guarantees that their jobs won't be outsourced to China, Arizona or other places.

The 600 clerical workers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach represented by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union won only modest increases in wage and pension benefits over the life of a new four-year contract.

But more importantly, said union spokesman Craig Merrilees, they extracted promises from management that, as workers retire or leave the ports during the next four years, no more than 14 jobs will be outsourced. Companies also must continue to fill vacant positions when workers are absent for vacations or other reasons.

"The key issue in this whole strike was the outsourcing of good jobs, and they won protections against outsourcing abuses," Merrilees said.

He acknowledged that the issue would likely be front and center in negotiations when the new contract expires in 2016.

Shippers denied outsourcing jobs, but strikers insisted they had proof.

Trinnie Thompson, a union shop steward, said workers have seen invoices and emails showing some of their responsibilities being usurped by people in offices in Costa Rica, Shanghai, Colorado and Arizona.

"They take a job here in California where the average salary is $65,000 and are paying only $30,000 in a state like Arizona," she said.

The clerks handle such tasks as filing invoices and billing notices, arranging dock visits by customs inspectors, and ensuring that cargo moves off the dock quickly and gets where it's supposed to go.

The increasing computerization of such tasks, which allows them to be performed in cities far from the ocean, makes the clerks especially vulnerable, say labor experts.

"These are fairly complicated jobs, you can't just hire anybody to do them, but nevertheless they can be done from other places," said Nelson Lichtenstein, director of the Center for the Study of Work Labor and Democracy at the University of California, Santa Barbara, said Wednesday.

Moving such jobs overseas or to states that pay less, and where unionization is not as strong, is something that has been a trend in the United States for decades, he said, giving as an example large company customer call centers that have been relocated to India.

"What's remarkable about this is that the union struck, they shut down the ports and they won," he said, adding it showed what the strong labor movement that still exists in the shipping industry is capable of accomplishing.

The clerks make average salaries of $41 an hour, or about $87,000 a year. They also receive pensions and several weeks of vacation a year. Their health insurance is fully paid and includes zero doctor co-pays, giving them among the best salary and benefits packages of any blue-collar workers.

The deal, reached late Tuesday night, must still be ratified by union membership, but both sides expect that to happen in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, gates reopened at the ports and thousands of workers got busy unloading everything from cars to clothing, and television sets to computers from ships that had been idling in the ocean. Goods were placed on trains and trucks, to be delivered across the country.

"It's going to take a few days, maybe a week or two to get back to normal," said Long Beach port spokesman Art Wong.

During negotiations, shippers fought vigorously against the job guarantees, maintaining that would force them to keep people on the payroll that weren't needed.

Ultimately, they compromised to end the devastating strike that shut down 10 of the 14 terminals at the ports and cost the region billions of dollars.

"At the end of the day, it was important to reach compromise to get people back to work, and we agree the deal will extend growth at the ports," said Steve Getzug, a spokesman for the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Employers Association, which represented the shipping companies.

In just a week, the strike had begun to create concerns there would be shortages of everything from retail merchandise needed for next month's post-holiday sales to repair parts for Redbox video kiosks.

Christmas merchandise had already arrived before the strike began.

During the walkout, officials estimated roughly $760 million worth of cargo a day failed to move through the ports. Twenty ships headed to other ports in California and Mexico, while some simply didn't sail from their home ports. Still others idled at sea.

Clerical workers walked out Nov. 27 after working without a contract for 30 months.

Although the strikers numbered only about 450, thousands of dockworkers represented by a sister union refused to cross the picket lines, stalling work at the complex that handles 44 percent of all container traffic that arrives in the U.S. by sea.

The new contract calls for a $1 an hour raise immediately and another $1 an hour bump next year, with raises in the contract's third and fourth years still to be determined. Employees will also receive $4,000 lump sum payments for the 30 months they worked without a contract.

Their pension benefits will increase slightly, and their vacation and health benefits will remain unchanged.

When their contract expires in 2016, Merrilees said, they should expect to face the outsourcing issue again.

"This problem is one that's rampant across the country," he said. "It's great that port workers were able to get this problem in these ports subject to more controls, but meanwhile the impacts of outsourcing are still being felt across the country."

Online Edition

Port clerks returned to work Wednesday, jubilant in the knowledge that an eight-day strike that paralyzed the nation's busiest shipping complex had won them — at least for now — guarantees that their jobs won't be outsourced to China, Arizona or other places.

The 600 clerical workers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach represented by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union won only modest increases in wage and pension benefits over the life of a new four-year contract.

Jun 19, 2017

Truckers and warehouse workers to begin LA, Long Beach port strikes

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Starting Monday, a group of truck drivers and warehouse workers are going on strike at the ports of L.A. and Long Beach.

The drivers and warehouse workers are protesting wages. In addition, the local Teamsters union claims port companies have misclassified drivers as independent contractors.

"The law has said that they are employees, but these companies continue to break the law," said Eric Tate with the local Teamsters union. "So we're telling the mayor of Los Angeles and Long Beach that they need to stop allowing these law-breaking companies to enter the port until they start operating legally."

The union also claims the independent contractor status has meant truckers pick up some of the cost for the recent initiatives for greener operations at the ports of L.A. and Long Beach. 

KPCC has reached out to both mayors, as well as representatives for the trucking companies.

So far, only Eric Garcetti's office has replied with a statement:

Sustainability and economic prosperity are not mutually exclusive, and the mayor is committed to making sure that our truckers are not burdened unfairly with the costs of meeting these goals.

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Jun 12, 2017

Trade, logistics support many of Southern California’s good paying jobs but automation is coming

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Trade and logistics is big business in Southern California and automation is playing an increasingly bigger role as the industry seeks to remain competitive.

That’s the takeaway of a new report from the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. The study reveals that 598.3 million tons of freight valued at $1.7 trillion moved throughout the region in 2015. That equated to a daily average of 1.6 million tons valued at $4.7 billion.

Needless to say, all of that activity fueled lots of jobs.

A driver of employment

The LAEDC report shows that the region’s trade and logistics sector employed 580,450 direct payroll workers in 2015, a 9.7 percent increase since 2005. An additional 273,840 jobs were supported through indirect effects and another 310,490 were supported by induced effects, creating a total employment impact of nearly 1.2 million jobs.

Indirect jobs include workers who don’t directly produce goods or services but make their production possible or more efficient. Induced jobs take into account employees who work at local restaurants, gas stations, supermarkets and other businesses where trade and logistics workers spend their money.

The Inland Empire supported about half of those jobs and Los Angeles County supported another 40 percent.

Average wages are good

The pay isn’t bad. The average annual wage in the trade and logistics industry in 2015 was $63,130, about 14 percent higher than the $55,310 average annual wage for all industries in Southern California.

Wages were much higher in certain segments of the industry. Those involved in support activities for water transportation earned an average of $111,120 a year, for example, and others who work in air transportation earned an average of $75,710 a year.

A significant economic impact

Trade and logistics in Southern California generates $224.6 billion in economic output annually, sustained by direct spending of $131.9 billion, which includes $43.5 billion in labor income paid to its employees, according to the report. Industry-related expenditures indirectly generate $47.2 billion in spending at supplier businesses in the region, and compensation paid to employees fueled additional spending of $45.6 billion.

But while wages are good, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are increasingly integrating automation in their operations — and that’s displacing workers. Trade and logistics industries are looking to become more capital-intensive versus labor-intensive through the use of new technologies.

Local ports integrating automation

The Port of Los Angeles has been transforming its TraPac terminal over the last several years by outfitting it with massive robots. Some are tasked with moving shipping containers from ships and stacking them nearby, and others load the stacked containers onto trucks for the next leg of their journey.

“We have eight terminals here and one is TraPac,” port spokesman Phillip Sanfield said. “It’s the only automated terminal and it was very expensive. The Port of L.A.’s investment in TraPac was more than $400 million. We’ll get that back and more over the course of their lease, but it’s very expensive to do this. And it takes years for a company to plan and get the environmental approvals to build an automated terminal.”

The Port of Long Beach has also been outfitting its Middle Harbor terminal with automated equipment, which is expected to be operative by 2020.

Self-driving trucks are also being used in warehouses in the form of autonomous forklifts. More recently, the truck transportation and drayage (short-haul) industries are looking at self-driving trucks as ways to reduce costs and boost their profit margins. But that’s not going to happen right away.

“Regulations have to catch up with the technology,” said Shannon Sedgwick, the LAEDC economist who authored the report. “That kind of technology won’t be widespread until that issue is resolved.”

The federal government has yet to establish laws that deal specifically with autonomous vehicles. But several states have opted to enact their own statewide laws. Another major hurdle to widespread adoption is the public’s innate fear of seeing self-driving trucks on the road.

Automation in warehouses

Automation is also widespread in warehouse operations. Amazon is known for its orange Kiva robots, which transport shelving and bins to workers who then pick the products. Several new startups are also poised to enter and transform the warehouse robot space. San Jose-based company Fetch Robotics has created industrial robots that simplify warehouse product handling by following pickers to catch their selected items.

Fetch Robotics spokesman Tim Smith explains it this way:

“Our robots are almost like moving pallets,” he said. “They don’t necessarily replace jobs, but they can do the worst part of a job.”

A Fetch device can autonomously deliver items to wherever they need to go in the building. That eliminates the need for an employee to walk miles and miles throughout the day to deliver the products.

“A map of the environment is created when a robot is installed. That takes a few hours and it takes two to three days to get the system up and running,” Smith said. “We have about 15 customers all over the world. One of our U.S. locations is in Livermore and others are in Asia and Europe.”

Drone deliveries

The LAEDC report also notes that delivery drones are being readied by several companies, including Amazon, Google and UPS to make deliveries to remote areas or areas with heavy traffic congestion more efficient.

But drones without direct supervision of a person are not currently legal in the U.S. Until they are, delivery drones will still require a human component.

Technology isn’t the only game changer in the trade and logistics sector. Labor issues, including disruptions and domestic outsourcing, have the potential to negatively affect the Southern California-based industry in terms of growth for trade volumes and wages, the report said.

Online Edition

Trade and logistics is big business in Southern California and automation is playing an increasingly bigger role as the industry seeks to remain competitive.

That’s the takeaway of a new report from the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. The study reveals that 598.3 million tons of freight valued at $1.7 trillion moved throughout the region in 2015. That equated to a daily average of 1.6 million tons valued at $4.7 billion.

Needless to say, all of that activity fueled lots of jobs.

A driver of employment

Jun 12, 2017

Los Angeles, Long Beach ‘climate mayors’ roll out zero-emission goal for ports

Online Edition

Dubbing themselves the “climate mayors,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia signed a pledge Monday to aim for zero emissions in operations at their side-by-side ports by 2035.

The mayors and other dignitaries gathered next to the Los Angeles Maritime Museum on San Pedro’s waterfront to announce how they intend to move forward following more than a decade of successful achievements in cleaning the air and water at the two mega-ports.

“I know these are not easy goals to meet,” Garcetti said, declaring later: “We must, we can and we will do this together.”

They also launched the Green Ports Collaborative, an initiative to bring cities and ports up and down the West Coast together to develop shared standards.

“Today moves us forward with new goals,” Garcia said.

It will, Garcetti said, demand “innovation from all of us.”

Specifically, the ports will strive toward expanding electric vehicle fleets while continuing to push air emissions lower. Port officials will aggressively pursue new technology being developed or already offered in the private sector.

“We have spent a number of years testing a variety of equipment in our rigorous port environment, and there is a growing market for this cleaner technology,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka.

It is “critical,” he said, that the private sector collaborate with the ports going forward.

Pilot truck program

Long Beach and Los Angeles will continue to focus on cleaner ships and trucks and will launch a zero-emissions drayage truck pilot program in the next few years.

Later this month, the ports will release a more specific timeline and process for updating the ports’ Clean Air Action Plan, which is credited with dramatically reducing emissions since 2005. The plan was updated in 2010.

But the ports remain a primary source of pollution throughout the region, a stark reminder that the work is not done, Garcetti said.

Mayors upholding climate accord

Garcetti and Garcia are members of the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda, or Climate Mayors, a group co-founded by Garcetti in 2014. Membership in the group has climbed from 88 to 292 since President Donald Trump vowed to pull America out of the Paris climate agreement earlier this month.

The agreement sets environmental goals by the 195 signatory countries, and, since Trump’s recent action on the Paris accord, at least 279 of the climate mayors have vowed to uphold the agreement.

“As climate mayors, we have redoubled our commitment to work together regionally and nationally in advancing the Paris climate agreement goals to reduce greenhouse emissions,” the joint statement said.

Garcia said it is “crucial to double down on our commitment to combating climate change by achieving the goals of the Paris agreement and by committing to zero-emissions goals for the Clean Air Action Plan.”

‘Greenprint’ means more jobs

The “greenprint,” as Garcetti called the agreement signed Monday, also will create more jobs.

“One thing I agree with this administration on is that we need to create more jobs here in America,” Garcetti said.

Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino said the ports already have made “dramatic gains” in cutting air pollution.

Now, he said, it’s time to push forward.

“If we don’t, who will?” he said. “We must be the example to the rest of the world.”

City News Service contributed to this report.

Online Edition

Dubbing themselves the “climate mayors,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia signed a pledge Monday to aim for zero emissions in operations at their side-by-side ports by 2035.

The mayors and other dignitaries gathered next to the Los Angeles Maritime Museum on San Pedro’s waterfront to announce how they intend to move forward following more than a decade of successful achievements in cleaning the air and water at the two mega-ports.

Jun 15, 2017

Greening of L.A., Long Beach ports moves ahead

Online Edition

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, calling themselves the “climate mayors,” got it right this week when they pledged to aim for zero emissions at their cities’ megaports by 2035.

Their plan is aggressive and certain to run into some obstacles, but it also is necessary in reducing pollution harming the health of residents in surrounding communities in the region.

Garcetti, calling the plan “brave new territory,” said the joint pledge should answer critics who questioned the commitment of port leaders to reduce harmful emissions.

Although both ports have dramatically reduced emissions since 2005, the ports remain a primary source of pollution plaguing the region.

Specifically, the plan calls for the ports to strive to expand electric vehicle fleets while continuing to push air emissions lower. New technology being developed will be essential in this effort.

It also will be critical for the private sector to work with the ports in reducing pollution.

Industry groups have been vocal in their concern about increased costs in moving to cleaner vehicles and railyard equipment.

But the health of people should be the first consideration.

In another smart move, Garcetti and Garcia launched the Green Ports Collaborative, an initiative to bring cities and ports along the West Coast together to develop pollution-reducing goals.

Although these ports compete with each other for business, it makes sense to cooperate on the shared goal of cutting pollution which helps everyone.

Garcia said it also was crucial to achieve commitments to fighting the harmful effects of climate change by achieving goals of the Paris climate agreement.

Although President Trump has vowed to pull the United States from the Paris agreement, it’s all the more important for the ports to move forward on its clean air action plan, Garcia said.

Leaders of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach still must set more specific timelines for updating the clean air plan and setting new goals.

But the process got a big boost this week as the “climate mayors” signed what Garcetti called the “greenprint” to cleaner air in the region.

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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, calling themselves the “climate mayors,” got it right this week when they pledged to aim for zero emissions at their cities’ megaports by 2035.

Their plan is aggressive and certain to run into some obstacles, but it also is necessary in reducing pollution harming the health of residents in surrounding communities in the region.

Jun 15, 2017

Port truck drivers planning 15th strike in protest of ‘greedy corporations’

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Some truck drivers and warehouse workers from companies serving the Long Beach and Los Angeles ports announced Thursday their intention to strike, although it was not clear how it could impact operations.

Barb Maynard, a representative of the truckers and workers, said the strike would start Monday and involve several of the large companies that do business at the ports, including XPO Logistics, but declined to estimate how many individuals or companies may be involved.

“They are among the largest companies serving the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach,” Maynard said.

Meetings set to take place over the weekend will determine which companies and how many workers will be involved in the strike, she added.

The Los Angeles Times reported that about 100 truckers and workers may strike.

According to a news release, the truckers are protesting “exploitation by greedy corporations using predatory subcontracting schemes, including misclassifying employees as independent workers in order to lower wages, deny them benefits such as health insurance, unemployment, and workers compensation.”

Earlier this week, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, announced a goal of requiring zero emission trucks at the ports by 2035.

“We support clean air, but there was no mention on how this Clean Air Action Plan would impact the drivers. We are concerned about who will end up paying for it,” said Eric Tate, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 848.

“The last time they did this in 2008 with the Clean Truck Program, the corporations ended up passing on the cost to the workers by requiring them to lease a truck in order to get hired and illegally misclassifying them as ‘independent contractors,’ leaving very little for the workers to take home to their families. We don’t want that to happen again,” he said.

If the strike goes forward it would be the 15th strike involving some drivers or workers at the ports to happen in the last four years.

Because of the large number of companies operating at the Port of Los Angeles, the strikes have had “minimal” effect on port operations, Phillip Sanfield, a spokesman for the Port of Los Angeles, told The Times.

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Some truck drivers and warehouse workers from companies serving the Long Beach and Los Angeles ports announced Thursday their intention to strike, although it was not clear how it could impact operations.

Barb Maynard, a representative of the truckers and workers, said the strike would start Monday and involve several of the large companies that do business at the ports, including XPO Logistics, but declined to estimate how many individuals or companies may be involved.

Jun 15, 2017

China Shipping diverting cargo from LA port to Long Beach because of environmental restrictions, LA port chief says

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China Cosco Shipping Corp., the world’s fourth largest shipping line, is diverting its cargo away from the Port of Los Angeles to its competitor in Long Beach because of more lax environmental rules at its terminal there, the chief of the L.A. port said Thursday.

The Chinese company, one of the most important players in the twin port complex, “made a strategic decision to move cargo away from our Berth 100 Port of Los Angeles to their terminal in Long Beach because they have less stringent mitigation measures at that facility,” Gene Seroka told the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners.

Representatives of China Shipping could not be reached for comment.

The announcement came a day before Los Angeles was set to release a much-anticipated environmental report stemming from a 2001 lawsuit involving China Shipping L.A. terminal expansion. Environmentalists hope the new draft EIR will force the carrier to impose anti-pollution measures that can be costly.

David Pettit, a lawyer at the Natural Resources Defense Council, which brought the lawsuit on behalf of residents and local groups, said he fears the new plan will be “a lot of big talk and no enforceability.”

The more than 15-year-old lawsuit had imposed tough pollution-cutting measures established in an environmental document in 2008. But in 2015, the port revealed several of those clean-air mandates had not been met. Required nondiesel-burning trucks never showed up at the terminal as pledged and ships weren’t plugging in to clean electricity for shore power at the rates required.

At the time, Seroka blamed past management and noted that some of the demands couldn’t be met because of cost and technology.

Pettit fears Seroka’s comments are a prelude to a new plan that will lack teeth and not demand speedy cleanup efforts.

“The narrative is going to be we can’t do everything that environmentalists want us to do because it’s going to cost jobs and money,” he said.

For Long Beach, which saw cargo container volumes plummet last year after one of its largest tenants went belly up, news of China Shipping’s shift was welcome.

“It’s a huge win for the Port of Long Beach,” said Lori Ann Guzman, president of Long Beach’s harbor commission. “We are known as the green port, to suggest that we have less stringent environmental standards is inaccurate. We have superior customer service and an outstanding relationship with the clients. This is a testament to that.”

While both ports adhere to clean air goals to decrease smog-forming emissions from diesel engines, newly expanded or modified terminals have additional rules.

That’s part of the reason Seroka can make the claim that Long Beach’s terminal doesn’t have the same environmental restrictions. The Long Beach terminal hasn’t sought an expansion for more than two decades, officials said. And because of that, it’s not subject to more regulations. On the flip side, the Los Angeles terminal China Shipping used was subject to new rules because of the lawsuit.

Heather Tomely, Long Beach ports director of environmental planning, points out that Pier J, where the carrier will send it cargo, is sharing in a $9.7 million grant to replace all nine of the diesel-powered cranes with zero-emission electric models.

Seroka’s jab at Long Beach reveals the intense competition between the two ports just days after the mayors of Los Angeles and Long Beach put on a united front dubbing themselves the “climate mayors” and promising to move toward zero emissions in port operations by 2035.

It also highlighted a larger debate stirring at the port: What will be the true cost of turning the nation’s busiest port complex into its cleanest as well?

“An awful lot of pressure is going to fall on both ports,” said Jock O’Connell, an international trade adviser at Beacon Economics. “Everyone fears as environmental restrictions become more stringent and the cost of compliance goes up, the ports will become less competitive.”

Already there are signs that ships formerly calling on West Coast ports are now going through the newly expanded Panama Canal.

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China Cosco Shipping Corp., the world’s fourth largest shipping line, is diverting its cargo away from the Port of Los Angeles to its competitor in Long Beach because of more lax environmental rules at its terminal there, the chief of the L.A. port said Thursday.