Simplified Claiming Gets Preliminary OK
September 14, 2009
The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners on Monday, September 14, voted preliminarily to eliminate a requirement that obligates most importers and exporters to claim cargo and pre-pay a Clean Trucks Program fee. The change is designed to end a bureaucratic step that has become unnecessary, but does not impact the programs clean air goals.
The decision is expected to win final Board approval in the coming weeks. The new rule, developed by the Port of Long Beach in cooperation with "PortCheck" fee-collecting organization and Port of Long Beach Marine Terminal Operators, is targeted to take effect on November 1, 2009.
It will require pre-payment only from cargo owners who use older, polluting trucks. Most cargo (the majority of which is already moved with clean trucks or on-dock rail) will be exempt from the requirement.
Under the current rule, all cargo owners (importers and exporters) have to claim and pre-pay a Clean Trucks Fee. The pre-paid fee is then refunded to importers and exporters after it is verified that the cargo was moved by clean trucks or on-dock trains. The Port only keeps the fee from those who use older, more polluting trucks. The fees are then used to help finance new, less polluting trucks.
While the pre-payment process does not involve additional direct fees, cargo owners say the requirement has resulted in extra costs and administrative burdens.
"This action by the Board of Harbor Commissioners underscores the Port's responsiveness to industry concerns," said Commission President Nick Sramek. "The Clean Trucks Program is on track to realize its environmental goal and today we also made it easier for importers and exporters to move cargo through Long Beach."
The Clean Trucks Program is aimed at replacing older, dirtier vehicles with clean trucks to reduce air pollution by 80 percent by 2012. The program is far ahead of schedule with 85 percent of all containers moved through the Port of Long Beach already being carried by clean trucks or on-dock trains.