CONTAINER DRAYAGE/FLIP SERVICE

Port of Long Beach/Port of Los Angeles

Truck Restrictions

The Port of Los Angeles, and the Port of Long Beach’s Clean Truck Program is completely changing the way we do business, and how we move freight in and out of these ports. This year, these ports have continued with their truck banning schedule, by denying entry to tractors that have a 2003 or older engine. There is a modification, that drivers can have performed on their engine, that will allow access to the ports. That retrofit is for 1994-2003 engines, and I have not seen it any cheaper than $10,000 for the change. I can’t see many of our contractors willing to spend that much money. Below is a list of the Clean Truck Program truck banning schedule:

Truck Banning Schedule

October 1, 2008 – All pre-1989 engines were banned from entering ports

January 1, 2010 – All 1989-1993 engines are banned, and 1994-2003 non-retrofitted engines are banned as well.

January 1, 2012 – All engines must be 2007 or newer to access ports.

As of January 1, 2010, we only have about 22% of our entire fleet that have compliant trucks to enter the ports. We have come up with a solution for our Owner-Operators that no longer have compliant equipment. We interviewed several drayage companies that could go into the port for us, load our containers on a chassis, bring them back to their facility, and then flip the cans onto our trailers.  We have decided on a company to provide us with this service.

All coordinators need to be aware of what units on their board are compliant or not. Speak with your coordinator and tell them what year engine you have in your tractor. We can’t just go by what year of tractor that we have in the computer, because it is not uncommon for the model year of a tractor, and it’s engine to be different. For example: A 2004 truck may be equipped with a 2003 engine, which would make it non-compliant. Or a 1999 truck could have had an engine replaced, and it may have a 2006 engine, which would make it compliant.

If your truck is compliant (2004 or newer), then you are free to accept anything that loads/unloads in these ports. The truck will be able to enter the port, same as it always has.

If your truck is not compliant (2003 or older), then you can still accept freight the same as always. If you do accept a load that loads out of the port, then the we will have to deduct a portion of the charge from the rate of the load for the drayage, and flip service. ATO will continue to enter these loads into the computer at the normal rate, because they will not know until the load is accepted, if they will have a compliant truck, or a non-compliant truck picking it up. It will say in the order “NONCOMPLIANT TRUCK WILL HAVE TO PAY DRAY FEE OF $??? FOR PICKUP”. The $??? is part of the drayage/flip charge that Mercer is splitting with the driver. Once you accept the load, call ATO office, and let them know that the truck you accepted on the load is a non-compliant truck. You will notice that ATO will put a “D” at the end of the trip number, indicating that we have to “dray” the container. The drayage service will then go pick up the container, and take it to their facility. You will go to the drayage service, and have the container flipped onto your trailer.

A TWIC card will no longer be needed for pickup on these loads if they are picking up at the drayage facility, unless the TWIC is needed at the delivery end.

I know that I have talked to some drivers that think that the charge to the driver is not the best deal.   I agree.  It is costly.   Keep in mind that we talked to several different drayage companies, and this was the best deal we could work out for our contractors. Mercer and the ATO office are also eating some of the total cost as well. We could have had no solution at all, and just not given anyone an option to load container freight.   Looking at the ATO screen today, shows me that there is a lot of container freight in the system out there. I think that we will get an increase in container freight because the other companies that move long-haul cans out of the ports didn’t pursue this option. We will now get their freight, because they can’t cover it.

The downside is the charge.   I think that Mercer is providing a good solution for contractors that just can’t afford to spend thousands of dollars to upgrade their equipment. Also, I know a lot of drivers that will be happy not to have to go into the ports to wait on a container anymore. Have a great day everyone!

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  1. John & Carol Wieczorek
    January 12, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    I think it a good deal the few times I have went into the Long Beach Ports I would of gave a $100 each time I went into the port just so I wouldn’t have to deal with the gates and the yard traffic and not to think about the “TROUBLE LANE” I used to pull Rail containers in the St. Louis area years ago and when u would go into and out these places everyday you would get to know the “ins and outs” to get in much quicker. I for one will be glad to pay the $100.

  2. Chris Sampson
    January 12, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    Jason,Cans can float all thru The port and i will never pay $100 for someone to pick up for me,sorry but thats how i feel,raise the rates and maybe

  3. Jason Schaftlein
    January 13, 2010 at 8:05 am

    Thanks for the comments guys. I expected to get a real “mixed bag” of comments on this. Chris, you know we don’t force anyone to haul any of our freight. Some people are going to take advantage of this, and some are not. Bottom line is Mercer is providing the option for you to load…if you want to.

    • Chris Sampson
      January 13, 2010 at 10:53 am

      Yes Jason I know that you don’t force us to take this, I thank you for letting me VENT—— sometimes it works really well and sometimes not—-I feel better now—–have a nice day—you too Heidi

      • Jason Schaftlein
        January 13, 2010 at 11:33 am

        I hope you have a good day too Chris, Heidi doesn’t really care though! 🙂

  4. jpdubois
    January 13, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    I know Heidi cares, cause she
    told me so. She adds class to
    an otherwise depressing room.
    Since I am a noncompliant truck
    I think I will deal with this on a
    case by case basis and pay the
    fee if and when the rate can
    support it or when it fits my needs
    or wants.

  5. scott
    January 13, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    Just curious if you will charge broker trucksfor the same service. Revenue is endless for mercer on this deal.I don’t believe i should pay someone to provide a service. Glorified lumper sevice. If the consignee want their freight they should work it out with the port or drayage co.gerogia pacific will pay for their own lumpers. Why should we.

  6. Dan & Jane Danger
    January 13, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    Well, we, too have mixed feelings on this “service”. As we have invested alot of $$ in a new truck thats not only CARB compliant, But Smartway certified, as well as the cost of the TWIC; we had hoped it would be an advantage in going to CA when we had been so reluctant to go out there in the past. And it always good for Mercer to have one more eligible truck in it’s fleet to match a particular requirement from a shipper/reciever, right? And of course we hoped with so many companies facing reduced numbers of compliant trucks, maybe it would force the rates up. We’re not saying CA had the best plan, But it seems like this is defeating the purpose of the Clean Truck program. We totally understand the principals behind this service, But what about reliability and the liabilty in regards to the drayage company??

    • Jason Schaftlein
      January 14, 2010 at 8:29 am

      As far as less compliant trucks = higher rates, we are not going to see that immediately. The first quarter of the year is the slowest container volume quarter of the year, and I don’t think the port is struggling right now. In fact, they are quite confident that everything will continue to operate smoothly throughout the year.

      The long-haul containers that we move account for a very low percentage of containers that actually come out of the port. A lot of the containers are short haul, and they are handled by drayage companies much like the one we are dealing with. All of those drayage companies have new or retrofitted equipment. They have it because they port granted them money to do it. They didn’t grant Owner-Ops anything, because they have the same drayage trucks in and out everyday, whereas an Owner-Op might only go into the ports 10-15 times a year maximum. Bottom line is they are not concerned about the long-haul can not getting moved because there is not enough trucks to haul them. Hopefully they will be wrong, and then we will jump on the opportunity to get more freight, and more $$$.

  7. Jim Dwyer
    January 13, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    I run a 2010 tractor and a 2004 and i will gladly pay the 100.00 not to have to deal with the port. Have done it a few times and i figure its worth the money to save the headache. #5934

  8. paul langley
    January 13, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    I say thanks Mercer for trying to get us more loading opportunities. Its ok to “spread the wealth around” to quote a famous person from Chicago!

  9. Billy Owen
    January 14, 2010 at 6:09 am

    Jason, I agree with Jim. I have a 2006 tractor but I would be glad to pay for the service. I never could enjoy a nice run to Ca. for dreading having to deal with the port to get back out. It is unfortunate that the noncompliant trucks are forced to pay for the service but its not Mercers fault. It is what it is, we just have to deal with it the best we can. jb don’t cut you any slack does he?

  10. Jason Schaftlein
    January 14, 2010 at 8:17 am

    Great comments! To answer Scott’s question, yes broker will have to pay the fee as well, and they will probably have to pay the full fee amount. The service will cost a great deal more than $100. Mercer will probably not kick in money for a broker, like they will for our permanents.

    For Billy and Jim, we haven’t really discussed the possibility of compliant trucks using the drayage service. You may have to pay more than $100 because I doubt that Mercer, and the ATO office, would be willing to pay for some of the costs for a dray/flip involving a truck that is compliant to go into the port. That is something that we will have to discuss.

    I think that JP has the best answer so far. Look at it on a load by load basis. Every load is different. There is freight out in California that pays less than cans, even if you take $100 off.

  11. Neil
    January 14, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    To me $100 is a blessing not to have to go into the port to pick up a can,however,i will be interested to hear from drivers on how these drayage companies perform and what their facility is like.That being said somehow these rates have got to come up.

  12. Kenny
    January 14, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    I just looked at a can load,(order #4431525), in the comments it says, “NON COMPLIANT TRUCKS THAT REQUIRE DRAY WILL B
    CHARGED $125.00 FOR THE DRAY.”
    So which is it $100 or $125?

    • Jason Schaftlein
      January 14, 2010 at 2:09 pm

      I will get you an answer after 3pm today, Kenny. I will be on a conference call with the ATO office at 3.

  13. Big John
    January 14, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Is it okay to say “Well it coulda been worse!”. Like others I will look at it on a case by case basis. The fee is a lot to look at on rates that were far less than desirable to begin with. I do appreciate the effort of those involved. Guess we will see how it works.

  14. Bill Brown
    January 30, 2010 at 11:46 am

    On 1 19 2010 I loaded at the flip yard, might have been there an hour. Wish we had this service some time ago, might not have so many gray hairs. Can’t wait to return.

    • Jason Schaftlein
      January 30, 2010 at 10:39 pm

      Thanks for the input Bill!

  15. Jerry Coggin
    February 16, 2010 at 1:47 am

    Thankyou to all at Mercer for going the extra mile for the drivers, of course we realize Mercer is also acting in self intrest. I would like to see our customers sharing in the pain. How else will they realize a bunch of nazis are running California. Not refering to the governator but to CARB and AG Jerry Brown. Personally I wouldn’t mind seeing the ports choke on those containers. As I understand the rule this will be the last year my 2001 will be legal anywhere in California wich will probably result in an end to my time as an owner/operator.I believe putting owner-operators out of business is goal of those involved at CARB and their supporters in Ca. goverment.” Way to much freedom here, not enough control over these people”. No way to generate enough revenue to pay for new truck now, especially considering the higher initial cost and higher operating cost of these wonderful new trucks. Trade value of older equipment is also in the crapper thanks to goverment.

    • Jason Schaftlein
      February 16, 2010 at 8:37 am

      There are no official rules set for the entire state of California yet. CARB is meeting sometime in April to discuss delaying the standards that they will eventually set on trucks entering the state.

  16. Jerry Coggin
    February 16, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    Now I’m confused. Was pretty sure state wide rules were set then pushed back one year to 2011. I could be wrong but I don’t think so.
    I know I sound a little crazy with my opinion Ca. is trying to put me out of business but how else to explain the no owner- operator rule for the ports in 2012, no mater what kind of truck I drive. No matter how old or new. First I’m barred from the ports and then as I believe the whole state. And then, even If I do aquire compliant equipment, I’m still not allowed in the ports. What can you call this B.S. It sure isn’t about clean air is it.
    Can somebody explain to me how an engine that consumes more fuel (as these new clean engines do) pollutes less? I’ve followed many of these new “clean” trucks down the road while they’re smokin’ like an old locomotive. What’s up with that? My truck doesn’t smoke like that.
    I think most everyone realizes that Ca really doesn’t need to pass any rules regarding emmisions. The EPA already has acted. If Ca does nothing every year from now on there will be fewer and fewer old ” dirty trucks” on the road and more and more new ” green” trucks on Ca and the nations highways. Indisputable! So why shove economic hardship on everyone? It is not about the air. That is why CARB chairwomen Mary Nichols was not concerned with Hein T. Tran’s deception. His report “Methodology for calculating premature death,ect.” was what she wanted to hear to use as a tool to advance an agenda. Think I sound crazy? I think not. Tell me where I’m wrong about this. Tell me why if diesel exhaust is so dangerous I’m not already dead. I’ve been around trucks and diesel powered equipment almost every day for thirty-five years. Maybe more. There are scientists who dispute the danger presented by PM but CARB won’t listen to them. Don’t you wonder why? Just call me crazy Jerry.

  17. Heather B
    April 27, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    So here it is, yes mercer is a primarily flatbed company but none the less has a van fleet. And we dont haul “cans” but we do drive trucks n do haul to the ports what of the drayage charges to us. Not to mention y pay to risk our equipment in the hands of a port employee flatbed or van its our equipment not mercers or the ports nor either customers. It is the cutomers responsibility to incur charges associated woth delivery. What next will we b responsible to pay lumpers or hell while were at it lets just get rid of surcharge. This CARB and Port rules r another way to ensure there financial security with fees and answers to there employment issues. The $#%*always roles downhill. For one im sick of the govt crappin on our industry mistakin us all for dumb fat lazy rednecks that will swallow any crap they feed us cuz we dont know no better. Secondly epa emissions and idling laws trickle costs down to the dtiver one way or another. We make less n they make more, but no one really has a problem with that other than a simple well thats truckin or I dont make tge rules. Fine understood but when do rates increase when does the cost finally match the means. When do we see a side where out back sides arnt the ones turning red when will the industry do something to help those that provide it, instead of there own political portfolios, budgets, or agendas. This is ridiculous to think a job that pays on average 100 to 150k to the truck, has the means to support a 30k retrofitting, 5000 tracking sytem, 8000 apu, 60 to 100k truck purchase fuel maintenance taxes tags permits and everything else! By 2015 u might as while salarize or pay us hourly we will be outta business and at mc ds anyway. Where on anyload board do we make that kind of money to support our govt concern wit “go green” . … Looks o/ops r oficiallt bein phased out n big govt has given in to big lobbyists and big spenders. While they share the profit n wealth with big companies like scneider n jb. The ban on trucks not only marginalize ur ability to earn as well as buy it ensures that the only ones who can haul there freight is company drivers who earn a dramatic percentage less than what load pays.which wil drive rates down. It costs less to move n the competition is slim with the big 3 schneider jb and swift which have intermodal as well as size goin for them. N the kicker now, we have to pay for it, 25k thd minimal side just to be able to keep up. Which cuts it for the next 7months. Then we must spend another 50k for a newer truck! N the call it “smartway”… Ya for us to be shunned from the industry n forced to compete with whole companies! Yet another example of the rich get richer.. The american dream hope… Lets try that sad lil feature again. More like greed n selfishness. The only thing left for us o/ops to hope for is some kind of tax cut n that our trucks make it thru the next load without any problems. The main course there taxes, the ports do there thing have funding programs an seem helpful, whats that do for taxes, wheres that money coming from USSSSS we pay there fees (tax deductible of course) but then pay taxes on top of it for the fuel n everything else. Then again in january that trickles into carbs grant and funding programs. The circle of bend over n smile dumb trucker continues. But again we get no relief, just cheaper freight, the nafta mess, and oh yea a tax increase somewheres in the mix. While the cost of fuel n maintenance goes up. The ripple effect in full blown uncle sam experiece that is trucking….. N u all think its great that u get to pay a hundred bucks for no headache, well ur burnin the fuel sittin oh wait idling laws gotta spend money on apu or overheat/freeze. To spend more an more an more …. I got a idea lets just haul it all for freee!!!! When u think about it we arent runnin our businesses were manipulated pawns in a sick game of who wants to be a millionaire! Only the questions r all loaded fixed and never apply to us!

  18. Heather B
    April 27, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    Here is a idea : CARB employees must all own a prius, have there homes retrofitted for alternative energy consumption, recycle daily, own energy efficient appliances have geo thermal hvac wells for water septic tank for sewage and oh yea cant DIY must use only approved contractors home depot lowes must be inspected 6mo prior to deadline of 1/1/10. & must have new construction homes no older than 5years old that meet these standards n more by 1/1/12. ROFLMAO seem unfair dont it, CARB. I bet there board members think go green means a fast food chain based on salads n health food. There lead scientist was a phony n they knew it, but validated his research here lol come on ppl r the californian lawmakers really as gullible and intellectually impotent as they appear. Lets add another stipulation to the rule for carb employees yes there is a grant but only but only suppliers for carb are eligible… Try again next time.

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