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Tuesday, February 2, 2021

LMTA Challenges New Orleans Terminal Modernization Fees

Executive Director Renee Amar states the fees disproportionately fall on truckers

Renee Amar, Executive Director of the Louisiana Motor Transport Association (LMTA), the voice for the trucking industry, called for the New Orleans Terminal (NOT) to reexamine implementing a proposed modernization fee. The proposed fee of $25.00 for each loaded container that is picked up or dropped off at NOT’s facilities would fall directly on truckers and shippers doing business with the NOT.

“Truckers and shippers alike have contracts that require notice of rate increases,” explains Amar. “This forces the truckers to essentially float the costs of the fee and will cause significant disruption to our industry. One trucker might be responsible for $25,000 in new container fees monthly. That is beyond reproach of what should be demanded of a Louisiana trucking company. They may be able to recoup those charges at some point, but they are essentially floating the money for the NOT to supposedly make improvements.”

The LMTA is also concerned at the lack of notice and direction surrounding NOT’s modernization plans and fees.

“We are stunned to see NOT forcing the truckers and shippers to fund NOT’s improvement plan with little to no transparency,” says Amar. “We have only been informed that these fees will be used for a paving project for NOT. Otherwise, we know very little as to who has the authority to institute this fee, exactly how much will be collected and exactly how the funds will be expended.”

The trucking industry is responsible for a large portion of the costs associated with the freight they deliver. Louisiana’s trucking industry paid approximately $493 million in federal and state roadway taxes. In 2019, the industry paid 38 percent of all taxes owed by Louisiana motorists, yet only represent 15 percent of the vehicle miles traveled in the state.

“It is obvious that the trucking industry pays their share of fees and taxes and therefore should not be put in the middle of collecting a fee for the NOT terminal,” Amar explains. “If the NOT believes that the fee is needed and wants the fee implemented, then the terminal should find another way to raise those funds and not do it on the backs of the state’s truckers.”

The open letter that Amar sent to the NOT can be viewed here in its entirety.