Agriculture shippers sound alarm over street turn fees

Date: Thursday, January 24th, 2019
Source: American Shipper

Penalty will make congestion and air pollution worse, say truckers and shippers.

AgTC explained a street turn occurs “when a trucker delivers a container from a marine terminal to a container yard/importer/exporter and rather than returning to the port with no container, picks up a container and brings it into the marine terminal.”

With a street turn, one truck does a round trip, said AgTC, avoiding the need to have one truck carry a container out and another truck hauling a container back.

“The fees imposed on street turns must be one of the least constructive, poorly considered steps conceivable: It injures all, including the carriers themselves, by adding to congestion and delay which already makes marine terminals at some of our largest ports the greatest challenge to the U.S. export/import supply chain. Penalizing street turns threatens one of the only measures available to shippers, carriers, terminals, truckers to address the unending congestion,” said AgTC.

“At a time when ports are mandating green trucks and reduced emissions, this street turn fee is already increasing the number of trucks and emissions,” the group added.

AgTC pointed to notices that said effective Feb. 4 HMM will begin to charge truckers $50 for street turns and ZIM will charge $40.

David Garofalo of the Intermodal Association of North America said, “The ZIM and Hyundai initiation of street turn fees is a component of their addenda to the UIIA (Uniform Intermodal Interchange and Facilities Access Agreement). These addenda are used to lay out commercial/economic terms between equipment providers and truckers that are related to equipment interchange and are precluded from being a part of the UIIA contract due to antitrust implications.”

A spokeswoman for HMM said the shipping line “recognizes and promotes the street turn activity. A street turn benefits ports, container depots, chassis providers, shippers and truckers. The charge that HMM has imposed is to the trucker, not the shipper, to cover our administrative costs for arranging and executing the street turn. We do not see this administrative charge to be a burden to truckers since there are still benefits to the operation for all participants.”

Peter Friedmann, the executive director of the AgTC, said that his group is willing to speak with the carriers and others to explain why it believes the street turn fee will impede cargo flow and increase costs.

Because of its deleterious effect on the environment, he said AgTC also is thinking of contacting the California Air Resources Board about the charges.

Weston LaBar, the chief executive officer of the Harbor Trucking Association, which represents drayage drivers in Southern California, said he was aware of the charges ZIM and Hyundai have announced.

“There is a considerable amount of push-back from the industry. There has been an emphasis on trying to increase street turns to combat port congestion and this is another counter intuitive action by ocean carriers,” said LaBar.

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