Industry news

| December 12, 2008

Hess says its prices were less than competitors’ before and after Katrina, when the fuel price paid by retailers changed minute to minute. Competitors raised prices “immediately and dramatically,” while Hess raised prices only in increments in response to wholesale cost, Hess says. After Hess learned that more than one increase in a single day violated state law, it has since complied, the company says.

Efforts to reach Sunoco for comment were unsuccessful.

Florida’s attorney general filed suit against the Tallahassee-based gas station Swifty Stars, and Tennessee’s attorney general filed suit against Chattanooga’s Tip Top market.
-JILL DUNN


PORT PAYS TRUCKERS TO UPGRADE RIGS
In an effort to curb air pollution around the fourth-largest container port in the nation, Oakland, Calif., port officials unveiled a new program that gives truckers money for new trucks.

Eighty truckers, all owning rigs built in or before 1986, will receive $25,000 each toward new tractor-trailers.

“We are really trying to get the oldest and dirtiest trucks out of here,” says Tim Leong, a port environmental scientist. “We looked elsewhere to see what other successful programs are going on in California and found this one.”

When the port expansion project began more than 10 years ago, the port authority pledged to spend almost $9 million to reduce air pollution in and around the complex.

Making trucks cleaner has been the final part of that agreement and the most difficult to accomplish.

Previously, the port offered truckers money to equip their rigs with new engines, but the offer was largely ignored because the retrofits did not increase the value of the rigs and cost truckers downtime.

The program is expected to cost about $2.9 million. For more information, call the Replacement Truck Program hot line at (510) 627-1380.
-LANCE ORR


TEAMSTERS RECRUIT OWNER-OPERATORS
Four hundred sixty owner-operators, some motivated by a logjam of freight from hurricanes Katrina and Rita, have signed up at the Teamsters’ Miami hiring hall, a union representative says.

Local 769 opened Sept. 20, and truckers have held signs outside the Port of Miami encouraging others to join, says Jim Stewart, international representative for the Teamsters’ port division.

Intermodal port truckers have complained for years of poor pay and working conditions, and shutdowns have occurred at ports nationwide during diesel spikes.

This fall’s hurricanes are expected to result in a backlog of freight being diverted to East Coast ports, Stewart says. The union expects to open other halls in Charleston, S.C., and Savannah, Ga.

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