A group of minority truckers have told representatives of Congress and big business that they favor deregulation of the trucking industry, but not so much that they can be swallowed up by larger, more established trucking firms.

Officers of the Minority Trucking-Transportation Development Corp., arranged a breakfast meeting Tuesday with key congressional and administration officials to lobby for a deregulation bill.

"Entry (into the industry) is a primary concern to us," M. Harrison Boyd, the corporation's executive director, told reporters after the meeting. "We have to enter the transportation industry. We need protection from large corporate dominance. We feel minority carriers can be competitive."

"All you are asking for is to be able to be competitive," Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) told the truckers at the breakfast. "The opening of entry can have an enormous impact on inflation and the economy."

According to General Accounting Office figures, American consumers have saved $2.5 billion since the airline industry was deregulated, Kennedy said.

"This Congress is very much aware of what is happening in the deregulation of airlines," Kennedy said. "It's my very clear belief that we can do a similar job in Congress in the area of trucking."

Interstate Commerce Commission Chairman Dan O'Neill told the truckers, "What's important is for minorities who have been outside the system to get in the system. We've been making it easier for minorities and others to get in the system."

O'Neill said that to alleviate the energy situation for truckers, last Friday the commission issued an order making it possible for all transportation companies to increase their prices more rapidly to make up for the escalating fuel prices.

Proponents of trucking deregulation argue that a more competitive industry would result in lower shipping rates and therefore lower consumer prices for food products and other commodities hauled by trucks.

Boyd also said yesterday that the corporation was awarded $250,000 contract from the Commerce Department's Office of Minority Business Enterprise to provide technical and management services for minority truckers.