Los Angeles Business Journal – California Cartage Co., the largest drayage firm at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, has been acquired by NFI Industries Inc., the companies announced this week. Terms of the deal were undisclosed. Founded in 1944, Long Beach-based CalCartage provides the transport of goods over short distances, warehousing and distribution, customs examination, and brokerage services. NFI is a national drayage and goods transport company based in Cherry Hill, N.J.
Labor Notes – Truck drivers seem to have re-entered the public consciousness in 2017—but today our understanding of the occupation is far from the freewheeling “cowboy of the highway” image of the 1970s. It’s also no longer synonymous with “Teamster” or even seen as a desirable job.
These days most talk about truckers centers on self-driving vehicles and the prospect that more than three million professional drivers will be replaced by robots. Business writers excitedly write about how this “cost-saving” technology lies just around the corner, only briefly pausing to consider the social crisis that would be created by laying off so many workers.
Money CNN – Major U.S. labor unions are organizing truck drivers to help with relief efforts in Puerto Rico as the island continues to grapple with the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria last week.
The Teamsters union and the AFL-CIO, a federation of more than 50 unions, are working together to recruit truckers to travel to Puerto Rico and help distribute a stockpile of relief supplies. Thousands of shipping containers full of food, water, and medicines were sitting unused at Puerto Rico’s Port of San Juan.
American Journal of Transportation – The Pacific Merchant Shipping Association (PMSA) criticized a new proposed “Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP)” by the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach stating it proposes costly initiatives that will further erode the competitiveness of the two ports. In a September 18th letter, PMSA noted: “Over the past decade, diesel particulate matter emissions are down an incredible 87%. Even more astonishing, DPM (Diesel Particulate matter) is down 96% for trucks and cargo-handling equipment, the primary focus of this Clean Air Action Plan Update. This leaves 4% of remaining emissions that the CAAP Update proposes to reduce at a cost of $14 billion; a cost that undoubtedly understates the true costs of the CAAP and a cost that puts at risk the 1 in 9 jobs in the region that have made the San Pedro Bay ports the economic engine of Southern California.”
Supply Chain Dive – Growing concern over transport driver welfare is another link in the chain of transparency. Supply chain abuses generally bring to mind underpaid factory workers in third world countries, but the reality is that they happen everywhere. One that’s come to light here and overseas affects truck drivers, many of whom become entrapped in employer schemes and misclassification. Lawsuits regarding misclassification are becoming increasingly common, as evidenced by United Van Lines and California’s Pacific 9, which not only prove costly in settlement fees but also in lost business as customers choose to disassociate with the brand.
The federal gasoline tax has lost much of its effectiveness for funding freight transportation projects, and US Rep. Alan Lowenthal, D-Calif., is suggesting again that a tax on surface freight transportation is needed if the country is to meet its huge infrastructure development needs. Lowenthal, a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, represents the district in which the Port of Long Beach is located. He has introduced the National Multimodal and Sustainable Freight Infrastructure Act, which would impose a 1 percent excise tax on ground transportation of freight. The bill, which includes provisions for a grant program, would deposit all revenue into a freight trust fund, and a lock-box feature would ensure the money is used only for designated purposes for freight moving by truck and rail.
Daily Breeze – Community advocate Lucia Moreno-Linares was confirmed Wednesday as the first Wilmington resident in nearly a quarter century to take a seat on the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners. In a unanimous 13-0 vote, the Los Angeles City Council approved the appointment by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to replace Patricia Castellanos, who recently stepped down from the commission overseeing the Port of Los Angeles to pursue a new career opportunity.
Fleet Owner – As the “traditional” make-up of the U.S. truck driver population is rapidly aging and heads for retirement, new efforts must be made to attract younger and “non-traditional” candidates to the job of piloting commercial vehicles for a living. That’s according to a panel of trucking executives at the McLeod Software 2017 User Conference in Atlanta this week. It’s going to require new approaches to driver recruiting and retention by motor carriers – especially in terms of higher pay, more personal outreach, plus more family and spousal contact to help alleviate the stress created when drivers spend long stretches away from home on the road.
The Sacramento Bee – From family leave and clean-air cars to job applicants and the construction industry, organized labor left its stamp on the just-completed California legislative session. Unions’ efforts sent to Gov. Jerry Brown measures that give their leaders access to employees’ emails, restrict ports from expanding automation that could displace workers and expand prevailing wage requirements for housing construction.