Primer for Improved Urban Freight Mobility and Delivery
In the early 2000s, container trade at the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) and Port of Long Beach (POLB) was growing rapidly. Between 2000 and 2007, the number of containers handled by POLB increased by 59 percent, and the number of containers handled by POLA increased by 71 percent. This significant growth in activity meant more truck activity in the neighborhoods surrounding the ports, which greatly concerned residents. At the time, the drayage trucks serving the ports were more likely to be older, higher-emissions vehicles than in other sectors of the trucking industry. In response to concerns about truck traffic and pollution, the ports looked for ways to mitigate the negative impacts of its operations on the surrounding community. To reduce air emissions from the drayage fleet, the ports jointly implemented a Clean Truck Program as part of the Clean Air Action Plan. The program prohibits trucks with older and more polluting engines from accessing the Ports. However, the program offers financial assistance in the replacement or repowering of older trucks.
The objectives of the Clean Trucks Program are to:
In its first year at the POLA, the program reduced the rate of truck emissions at the port by an estimated 70 percent. When the program was fully implemented in 2012, port truck emissions were reduced by more than 80 percent. At the POLB, port truck emissions decreased by more than 90 percent when the Clean Trucks Program was fully implemented in 2012. As of June 2017, the number of trucks in the Port Drayage Truck Registry that have access to the Port of Los Angeles or Long Beach terminals is over 17,000, the majority of which are independent truck owner-operators.
In developing the Clean Air Action Plan, the ports organized a stakeholder committee that included representatives from environmental groups, public agencies, the maritime industry, and cargo owners. The ports held dozens of outreach meetings with trucking companies to discuss topics of concern to truck owner-operators. To track compliant trucks, the ports developed the Drayage Truck Registry, which functions as a shared data system for both ports. In addition to tracking truck movements in real-time at both ports, the Registry allows drivers to register trucks and pay access fees online by credit card or check.
Although the Clean Truck Programs at both ports have the same goals and objectives, the POLA implemented a concession program, while the POLB implemented a registration program. The POLA's concession program requires drivers to enter into a 5-year contract with the Port, register in the Port Drayage Truck Registry, and maintain certain insurance and safety standards. The POLA program only requires drivers to enter the registry, which includes a $250 registration fee and an annual fee of $100 per truck per port. Motor carriers must also acquire a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag to access each Port's terminals. For trucks that are not included in the registry, day passes can be purchased for $30 per day.
Under the Clean Truck Program, terminals at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach issued incremental bans on older truck models. The first ban in October 2008 included all pre-1989 truck models. In January 2010, the Ports banned trucks manufactured between 1989 and 1993. During this time, trucks manufactured between 1994 and 2003 were allowed to continue doing business at the ports if they were equipped with exhaust filters that significantly cut their emissions. In January 2012, the program banned all trucks that did not meet the 2007 Federal Clean Truck Emissions Standards.
The Clean Truck Program was highly successful in helping the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach meet their emissions-reductions goals. However, a program this complex may not be required at all U.S. ports. Lower-volume ports may be able to manage a similar program through a simpler approach, such as a vehicle information number (VIN) check or license plate database. Ultimately, it is important for ports interested in implementing a Clean Truck Program to develop a cost-effective data system that best meets their goals.
The ports helped finance clean vehicles for some truck drivers. The POLA provided $44 million in payments to licensed motor carriers to incentivize their purchase of 2,200 cleaner truck models in 2008. The POLB helped finance 750 clean trucks, 700 of which were liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered vehicles.
The two ports are currently working on an update to their Clean Air Action Plan, which is expected to be finalized by the end of 2017. The 2017 update contains 14 strategies to reduce emissions, invest in zero-emissions infrastructure, encourage freight efficiency, and address energy resources. The ports are proposing to update the Clean Trucks Program to phase out older trucks and transition to zero-emissions trucks by 2035.
Tim DeMoss, Air Quality Supervisor, Port of Los Angeles, (310) 221-4782, TDeMoss@portla.org
Tom Becker, Intermodal Operations, Port of Long Beach, (562) 283-7775, Tom.Becker@polb.com
United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration