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When the California law took effect July 1 to fine marine terminals $250 for each trucker who had to wait at a terminal gate for more than 30 minutes, no one knew what to expect. Would terminals be socked with heavy fines? Would truckers get in and out of port more quickly? Would confusion reign?
During the first two weeks of the Lowenthal act, few problems surfaced, and for a simple reason: Many truckers are using the appointment systems that the new law encouraged in an effort to reduce the long truck lines that have plagued container terminals.
"The appointments are working," said Ed DeNike, chief operating officer at SSA Marine. "I'm surprised how well they're working."
The Lowenthal act, named after the legislation's sponsor, Assemblyman Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, allows terminals to avoid the fines if they initiate an appointment,scheduling system and the truckers don't use it. Before the new law took effect, most terminals established appointment systems.
Harbor truckers say the scheduling systems are improving productivity as well as helping the terminals avoid fines. "So far it has been pretty good," said Greg Owen, president of TriModal Distribution Services in Los …