Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Governor Gavin Newsom just signed an executive order suspending weight limits on trucks servicing Californian ports. But does this order address the real cause of the problem?
Governor Newsom Signs Executive Order to Help Tackle Supply Chain Issues
Published: Oct 20, 2021
Formalizes state agencies’ partnership with the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to address state, national and global supply chain challenges
Directs state agencies to develop longer-term proposals that support port operations and goods movement for consideration in the January 10 Governor’s Budget
SACRAMENTO – Amid global disruptions to the goods movement supply chain, Governor Gavin Newsom today signed an executive order directing state agencies to identify additional ways to alleviate congestion at California ports. The executive order builds on earlier efforts this year by the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) to ease supply chain issues by engaging the diverse network of stakeholders along the supply chain to discuss key challenges and identify short-term and long-term solutions. Record demand for imported goods combined with capacity issues across the entire supply chain have slowed distribution at ports on the California coast.
“California’s ports are critical to our local, state and national economies and the state is taking action to support goods movement in the face of global disruptions,” said Governor Newsom. “My administration will continue to work with federal, state, labor and industry partners on innovative solutions to tackle immediate challenges while also bringing our distribution processes into the 21st century.”
Today’s executive order directs state agencies to continue coordinating with the Biden-Harris Administration Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force to address state, national and global supply chain challenges. The executive order also directs the Department of Finance to work with state agencies to develop longer-term solutions that support port operations and goods movement for consideration in the January 10 Governor’s Budget, which may include port and transportation infrastructure improvements, electrification of the goods movement system from port to delivery, and workforce development.
Additionally, today’s executive order directs state agencies to identify state-owned properties and other locations that could be available to address short-term storage needs once goods are unloaded from ships; to identify priority freight routes to be considered for a temporary exemption to current gross vehicle limits to allow for trucks to carry additional goods; and to create workforce training and education programs. AB 639’s (Cervantes, 2020) implementation is also expedited through this executive order.
Earlier this year, GO-Biz launched the California Supply Chain Success Initiative, a partnership with the California State Transportation Agency, the Port of Long Beach, and the CSU Long Beach Center for International Trade and Transportation to engage the diverse network of stakeholders along the supply chain to discuss key challenges and identify creative solutions. This effort, which brought together federal, state and local leaders, is focused on both short-term and long-term steps to address port congestion, including implementing a new 24/7 environment across the supply chain, a move the state worked with the Biden-Harris Administration on, improving collaboration, and exploring policies to remove obstacles and improve the movement of goods.
A copy of the executive order signed today can be found here.Source: https://www.gov.ca.gov/2021/10/20/governor-newsom-signs-executive-order-to-help-tackle-supply-chain-issues/
A week ago, a Facebook post by Don Helms, who owns North Idaho RV Rentals, triggered a social media storm when he blamed changes to labor laws and California’s strict environment laws for causing supply chain chaos.
So ships are piling up at Long Beach waiting to get unloaded. The port is jammed full of containers with no place to stack more. The liberal media is blaming it on the trucking industry while the nation’s store shelves are becoming bare… Well there’s more to the story. Could Gavin Newsom and California’s liberal trucking laws be the blame ?
The NEWS says the California port situation is caused by a driver shortage.
Not so fast: It is in part caused by a California Truck Ban which says all trucks must be 2011 or newer and a law called AB 5 which prohibits Owner Operators.
Traditionally the ports have been served by Owner Operators (non union). California has now banned Owner Operators.
Long term, truckers in California are not investing in new trucks because California has a law that makes them illegal in 2035. The requirement is to purchase electric trucks which do not exist.
And in the words of Paul Harvey, “Now you know the rest of the story”
CARB to begin blocking certain trucks’ DMV registrations in 2020
Carriers domiciled in California with trucks older than 2011 model, or using engines manufactured before 2010, will need to meet the Board’s new Truck and Bus Regulation beginning in 2020 or their vehicles will be blocked from registration with the state’s DMV, the state has said.
The new “health-based requirements” will need to be met before a driver is allowed to register his or her truck through the Department of Motor Vehicles, CARB says. A new enforcement tool used by the DMV beginning in 2020 will automatically block 2010 and older trucks from registrationSource: https://www.facebook.com/don.helms.92/posts/4716554968400743
Establishment media sources like USA Today were quick to pour scorn on the idea that emissions laws could be the cause of the USA’s widespread supply chain chaos, and insist that most of the trucks servicing California are already compliant with the new laws.
But Gavin Newsom’s latest executive order in my opinion to an extent undermines that denial. Liberating trucks to carry more freight will have a very similar effect to allowing a few more trucks to service Californian ports.
I don’t know whether Don Helms’ claims are correct, but you have to admit it would be very interesting to see whether the freight backlog could be cleared, if California Governor Gavin Newsom permanently cancelled all California specific restrictions and workplace rules which might affect trucks servicing major Californian ports.
Even if some of the rules have not been applied yet, the prospect of more red tape and higher costs would be enough to drive large numbers of truck drivers out of the Californian market. Why would any truck owner operator want to work in California, when the Newsom administration has repeatedly promised to shut their business down?
Of course I’m not expecting any genuine outbreak of common sense. A sensible environmental decision from California’s radical green administration, even in the face of a national emergency, seems as likely as the prospect of witnessing a flock of winged pigs take flight into the glorious setting sun.