House passes bill addressing detention, demurrage at ports | More new truck parking all around U.S.

Trucking news & briefs for Friday, Dec. 10, 2021:

House passes legislation that looks to ease detention at ports

The U.S. House of Representatives on Dec. 8 passed the Ocean Shipping Reform Act that would, among other things, seek to end abusive detention and demurrage practices at U.S. ports.

Introduced by Reps. John Garamendi (D-California) and Dusty Johnson (R-South Dakota), the bill is the first major update for laws governing U.S. maritime port operations in more than 20 years.

The legislation mandates a new rulemaking by the Federal Maritime Commission to prohibit “unjust and unreasonable detention and demurrage rules practices,” including a look into the appropriate billing parties for those charges.

[Related: Intermodal haulers fight off a 'system collapse' at ports]

If it becomes law, the FMC rulemaking would be required to establish definitions for demurrage, detention, cargo availability for retrieval and associated free time, and more. It’s also required to establish that demurrage and detention rules are not independent revenue sources but incentivize efficiencies in the ocean transportation network, including the retrieval of cargo and return of equipment.

The bill is now in the Senate with the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. It must be passed by the committee before it moves on to the full Senate.

The American Trucking Associations says the legislation is needed to end abusive practices imposed on American trucking companies at U.S. maritime ports by ocean carriers, most of which are foreign-owned.

Specifically, the trucking industry seeks relief from excessive detention and demurrage charges, complaints lodged in prior Overdrive reporting on the intermodal niche this year â€“ many see them as unfair fees levied on motor carriers by ocean carriers and marine terminal operators when shipping containers are not moved on schedule, though delays are typically due to factors entirely outside truckers’ control and often the result of inefficiencies caused by the ocean carriers themselves.  

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Members of ATA’s Intermodal Motor Carriers Conference and Agriculture and Food Transporters Conference say such changes are critical to improving the treatment of truckers servicing the ports.

“Ensuring fair practices at our ports is critical to ensuring goods get from docks to warehouses and store shelves,” said Jon Eisen, director of ATA’s IMCC. “House passage of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act is a major step toward modernizing regulations to reflect the commercial realities of ocean freight and their impact on our domestic transportation networks. ATA welcomes the improvements in this bill and a vigorous debate over these issues.”

Arizona temporarily reopens rest areas for truck parking

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and the Arizona Department of Transportation are looking to ease truck parking issues in the state by reopening two long-closed rest areas to give truckers more opportunities to rest through the holiday season.

Last week, Ducey directed ADOT to reopen two previously closed rest areas at Parks (I-40) and Christiansen (I-17). Both are now open, providing additional opportunities for drivers to park and rest. This is a temporary measure, as these rest areas will be open through Jan. 18, 2022, to provide relief during the holiday season. 

"We are working to make sure commercial drivers and Arizona families have the support they need this holiday season," Ducey said. "Prices are rising and commercial drivers are under an incredible amount of stress as they transport goods. Today's action will help alleviate this stress. My thanks to the Arizona Department of Transportation for streamlining requirements for commercial drivers and strengthening Arizona’s supply chain.”

[Related: Fleets, operators at odds over truck parking crisis]

Four news Love’s add 280 truck parking spaces

Love's Travel Stops is now serving truck drivers in Great Falls, Montana; Drayton, North Dakota; Pacific Junction, Iowa; and Dalhart, Texas, with four new stores that opened Thursday. The stores combined add 280 truck parking spaces to the company’s growing network.

The Montana location offers 56 truck parking spaces; Chester’s Chicken, Godfather’s Pizza and Subway restaurants; five diesel bays; four showers; and more.

The North Dakota store features 63 truck parking spaces, a Taco John’s restaurant, six diesel bays, four showers, and more.

The new Iowa location has 84 truck parking spaces, a Subway restaurant, six diesel bays, five showers, and more.

Finally, the new Texas store offers 77 truck parking spaces, Chester’s Chicken and Godfather’s Pizza restaurants, five diesel bays, four showers and more.