California Reefer Regulations Become Effective January 1st

California Reefer Regulations Become Effective January 1st

Truck brokers, freight forwarders, as well produce grower/shippers and receivers could face fines totaling as much as $10,000 per violation and per day if refrigeration equipment on the trucks they hire is not in compliance with new California regulations becoming effective with the New Year.  The penalties apply even if the trucks are only passing through California and do not stop in the state.  The rules apply under California’s Health and Safey Code.

The regulations stem from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and covers truck and rail owners and operators, plus any “hiring entity” using their services.

These issues were dicussed during a recent web seminar sponsored by Western Growers, Irvine, Calif., the California Grape and Tree Fruit League, Fresno, and C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc., Eden Prairie, Minn.  Also participating was Rodney Hill, an air pollution specialist from CARB who helped develop the rule.

As an example of rule violations, Hill said a truck loaded in Arizona and traveling through California on its way to a delivery point in Oregon could be fined, even though no deliveries are made in California.  The rule applies because the truck is operating within the state. It doesn’t matter where the truck is licensed.

Hill Compliance for hiring entities shouldn’t be too difficult, though, according to Hill and others in the Web seminar.

Matt McInerney, Western Growers executive vice president, said due diligence and documentation are the keys to keeping produce companies out of trouble. Hill agreed with that assessment.

“Begin changing your contracts now so you will be ready Jan. 1,” McInerney said.

“For those of you who have pre-printed pads of bills of lading, I know you want to use up what you have. But you should get new ones printed, or get a stamp made with the right language so you can add it to the forms you have on hand.”

Hiring entities and loading dock personnel, Hill said,  will not be expected to inspect refrigeration equipment to see if it is compliant.

However, if the equipment is not compliant and the hiring company’s contracts and other documents don’t have language showing it required the carrier to use compliant equipment, citations and fines will be issued, Hill said.