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- Matt Schrap
The independent trucker model that has dominated the drayage industry in the US is under siege. Last year's implementation of California's AB5 worker classification law produced significant changes at the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Oakland, forcing owner-operators to establish themselves as drayage operators that contract directly with trucking companies with brokerage divisions. Other motor carriers have chosen to hire the former owner-operators as direct employees, while others have simply fled the state. California's drayage industry experienced another blow on Jan. 1, 2023, with implementation of the Advanced Clean Fleet rule that banned trucks with model year engines of 2009 or older from calling at California's ports. An estimated 18 percent of the drayage trucks serving Los Angeles were banned from serving the ports. The harbor trucking industry has said it's only a matter of time before the largest US port complex experiences a significant drayage capacity shortage as a result of these changes. At the national level, the US Department of Labor's proposed revision of the Fair Labor Standards Act would make it much more difficult to continue the independent contractor model at all US ports and inland rail terminals. The Labor Department is expected to release its final rule this summer. In this session, trucking experts from Los Angeles-Long Beach, the California Trucking Association, and the Association of Bi-State Motor Carriers in New York-New Jersey will discuss the implications of these regulatory changes for US ports.