West Coast harbor truckers ready for action as cargo is due to return

West Coast truckers see challenges ahead.
Photo credit: ©Eric Watkins/Cargomatic

September 20, 2023 – U.S. West Coast drayage firms are facing new regulations in California, but the head of the region’s largest drayage trucking association has no doubt that shippers’ needs will be met as cargo begins to rise once again in the region.

Matt Schrap, CEO of the Harbor Trucking Association, told Cargomatic that the most important of these headwinds is the Advanced Clean Fleets (ACF) regulation developed by the California Air Resources Board.

According to CARB, the goal of the regulation is to achieve a zero-emission truck and bus California fleet by 2045 everywhere feasible and “significantly earlier for certain market segments such as last-mile delivery and drayage applications.”

It’s that “significantly earlier” date that is raising eyebrows, as the ACF will require all new trucks entering the drayage industry to be zero-emission on January 1, 2024. 

Still, Schrap has no doubt that his industry colleagues are up to the task since “we’ve got the diesel trucks” to meet the needs of shippers for the foreseeable future.

“Our main concern and main priority is being able to meet shipper demand,” said Schrap, who speaks for thousands of drayage truckers in the ports up and down the U.S. West Coast.

Like many people on the West Coast, he is convinced that the recently ratified contract between the International Longshore & Warehouse Union and its employers will prompt a return of cargo streams that had been diverted to East and Gulf Coast ports during the labor negotiations.

“It’s good that the tentative agreement is now a contract,” Schrap said, noting that “it passed with a good three-to-one margin” when voted on by the 22,000 rank and file members of the dockworkers’ union.

“So, I think there’s some hope that this certainty will give some shippers reason to continue to look at Los Angeles and Long Beach for their discretionary cargo,” he said. “We have the infrastructure, and we’re able to clearly support the shipper’s needs.”