By Darren G. Mayers, Esq.
By now we have all listened to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s daily COVID-19 briefings that all end with the admonition to “Stay safe, but stay at home.” This is sound advice for most of us. Fortunately, there are dedicated men and woman working in the trucking industry who are “staying safe” while also transporting the vital goods necessary to keep Los Angeles and the country functioning.
As the impact of the COVID-19 deepens in the United States, major ports, warehouses and freight transportation providers, which have been deemed “essential services” by the government, have remained open. This is a good thing, as the Southern California ports handle a wide range of critical cargo, from medical supplies to basic consumer goods. Both state and County of Los Angeles regulators have exempted port and supply chain activities from the “stay at home” orders.
Rest assured, though, that safety measures are in place to protect those who work there. For example, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) have worked out their own safety protocols, which include social distancing and a greater reliance on electronic dispatching of motor carriers when possible. Much of the container traffic out of the ports ends up at the Los Angeles BNSF Railway, which is following guidelines and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local public health agencies.
Unfortunately, even though the trucking industry is “essential,” it has nevertheless suffered a significant reduction in demand, as other businesses have scaled back operations in response to COVID-19. The volume of cargo containers moving through the Southern California ports was 31% lower in March 2020 than in March 2019, and first quarter 2020 traffic through the Port of Los Angeles was down 18.5% from the first quarter of 2019. This reduced activity may last throughout 2020, and possibly beyond.
While we are all living through uncertain times, the need for sound and sage advice to both deal with current conditions and plan for the future has never been more important. At Bradley, Gmelich & Wellerstein LLP we are uniquely positioned to advise our clients on trucking and transportation issues, whether it be business advice, employment and independent contractor issues, or personal injury litigation. We are here for our clients, regardless of the environment in which they find themselves in need of counsel.
Darren G. Mayers, Esq. is a graduate of California State University, Fullerton where he received his B.A. in Business Administration. He obtained his law degree from Southwestern University School of Law, where he was a member of the Board of Governors of the Trial Advocacy Program.
Mr. Mayers comes to Bradley, Gmelich & Wellerstein LLP with an extensive litigation background having represented governmental entities arising out of the California Tort Claims Act. He has represented national retailers, restaurants and bars in premises liability and negligent security actions as well as representing trucking companies and truck drivers related to over the road accidents. He has also represented non-profit organizations throughout California.
Mr. Mayers is licensed to practice law in all of California state courts and is licensed in all U.S. District Courts in California.