trucks on bridge

Ten years ago, smoke-belching trucks rolled into the Port of Long Beach, spewing harmful diesel particulates into the air and throughout surrounding neighborhoods. To transform the truck fleet and work toward ending unhealthful conditions, the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles started their landmark Clean Trucks Program on Oct. 1, 2008, beginning in a green port era. The ports banned pre-2007 big-rigs from the San Pedro Bay port complex, resulting in a 97 percent reduction in toxic diesel particulate matter emissions from trucks, per most recent air quality reports. 

The modernizing of the port trucking fleet also led to major reductions in all truck-related pollution, with a 79% decline in smog-forming nitrogen oxides, while sulfur oxides have plummeted 91% and greenhouse gas emissions are down 24%. This also included emissions from ships, locomotives, container yard equipment and harbor craft like tugboats.

“We’ve been far more successful than anyone could foresee, thanks to the work of our incredible staff and our industry’s investment and commitment to cleaner air,” said Tracy Egoscue, President of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners. “Now we’re moving ahead with still more ambitious goals.”

The next phase of the Clean Trucks Program started on Oct. 1, 2018, when new trucks entering service at the Port of Long Beach and the Port of Los Angeles are required to be model year 2014 or newer.

The new requirement applies only to trucks that are just starting to join the Port Drayage Truck Registry. Trucks already registered as of Sept. 30 will be “grandfathered” in, as long as they are current on their annual dues and compliant with emission regulations set by the California Air Resources Board.

The new requirement is the first in a series of steps the ports are taking to advance clean truck progress under the 2017 CAAP Update, approved last November. The plan is to eventually phase out older trucks, with a goal of transitioning into zero-emission trucks by 2035.

“It’s a great anniversary for us because we’re breathing cleaner air and we have cleaner trucks going up and down the 710 Freeway,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero, who served on the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners when the Clean Trucks Program was crafted and enacted 10 years ago. “Now we have a bigger challenge ahead of us to demonstrate that it’s feasible to bring zero-emission trucks here by 2035.”

The ports are actively pushing for the use of state and federal funds, including funds from the VW settlement to help them in moving to zero-emissions trucks and cargo-handling equipment.

In the near future, the Board of Harbor Commissioners may waive the annual Clean Trucks Program registration rate for near-zero and zero emissions trucks. Also, the Board may charge a rate for cargo moves by those trucks that do not meet the requirement, but exempt for those meeting near-zero and zero emissions standards. The ports will conduct a truck rate study prior to proposing any rate changes. Approximately 17,000 trucks are registered to work in the San Pedro Bay port complex as of today.

The Port of Long Beach is one of the world’s leading seaport With 175 shipping lines connecting Long Beach to 217 seaports, the Port handles about $194 billion in trade annually, supporting hundreds of thousands of Southern California jobs.

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