The War on Independent Truckers

Last year, independent truckers were protesting plans by the Port of Los Angeles that would put them out of business due to the high costs of complying with pollution abatement.

The latest news, reported here and here, has about 12 thousand of the 19 thousand truckers out of business. Another 3 thousand support jobs have been lost. According to reports, pollution is greatly reduced.

The Port of Los Angeles and the Teamsters Union are not satisfied with putting most of the independent truckers out of business. The Teamsters Union drew up a plan that would bar all owner operated trucks from accessing the port. The Port of Los Angeles accepted the plan. The Teamsters Union says that union drivers would get higher wages, and benefits. The legality of the plan is being fought out in federal courts. The Port of Los Angeles has won round one.

If the plan is implemented, the winners will be the Teamsters Union, which will get more members and more dues. The union members will get more renumeration. Large trucking companies will also be winners here because they will not have to compete with the low cost independent truckers. The politicians will presumably be paid off by the union and the trucking firms.

The losers will be the independent truckers, especially those who have just made a major investment in upgrading their equipment to satisfy pollution control regulations. The general public will also lose because shipping rates will go up for goods passing through the Port of Los Angeles. Thus, the costs of all those good will go up. Note that other ports around the country are carefully watching what is happening in Los Angeles before deciding whether to follow suit with similar plans.

Where ever you have a political authority controlling a major transportation facility, you have cartelization of access to the facility. Airports always have taxi service cartelized via permits and licenses.

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Posted September 2, 2010 by Brian Cantin in Uncategorized

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