At the end of 2017, the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach (LA-LB) jointly announced aggressive emissions reduction goals in the Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP) Update. The intent of the CAAP is to provide stakeholders with high level guidance to drive down port emissions. Mayors of both cities have declared their desires to eliminate emissions from cargo-handling equipment by 2030, and share a zero-emissions goal for on-road drayage trucks by 2035.
LA-LB’s focus on emissions reductions from port and other non-road transport aligns with broader California plans. In 2017, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) passed resolutions to develop air quality regulations to achieve 100% zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) compliance for cargo-handling equipment by 2030. Additionally, the South Coast Air Quality Management District and CARB will work to develop concepts for an Indirect Source Rule to control pollution from large freight facilities, including ports, and any alternatives to achieve emissions reductions.
LA-LB are committed to supporting a host of regional and state regulations to reduce port emissions, including ZEV standards for on-road trucks; engine standards for locomotives and vessels; emission controls from non-regulated vessels; fleet turnover requirements for harbor crafts and cargo-handling equipment; and idling restrictions for cargo-handling equipment.
However, future regulations will have few teeth. Signed in April 2017, the State of California Senate Bill 1, while it supports developing a funding mechanism for transportation infrastructure, prohibits the development of new regulations that would create requirements for the replacement of trucks before 800,000 miles or 18 years from the engine model year. Unable to require changes, LA-LB will have to advocate for significant voluntary incentive and grant programs to entice fleets to opt in.
Balancing Immediate Results with Long-Term Strategies
LA-LB want to reduce their port emissions as much as possible, as quickly as possible. However, finding strategies to immediately bring port emissions reductions before certain technologies are available will prove challenging. ZEV and near-ZEV trucks are not yet broadly commercially available, though demonstration projects are underway. According to CAAP, the only near-ZEV engines available are fueled by natural gas, while near-ZEV diesel will come to market sometime after 2020. The ports have suggested an update to the Clean Truck Program to limit drayage vehicle registrations to newer engine years beginning mid-year 2018, as well as establishing a rate trucks must pay for entry to the port, with exemptions for near-ZEV and ZEV trucks.
LA-LB can still move toward the electrification of off-road vehicles while waiting for heavy-truck electrification technology to become commercially viable. The electrification of cargo-handling equipment provides another path toward reducing port emissions. Port of LA has several cargo-handling electrification projects, including demonstration projects of plug-in yard tractors and the electrification of 10 rubber tire gantry cranes. A full list of cargo-handling electrification projects and implementation can be found on the Port of LA’s Zero Emission Technologies page.
Will Improvements Pull in or Drive Away Business?
LA-LB’s adoption of the CAAP Update signals the market that there is an increasing demand for cleaner vehicles operating within the ports. This plan could hasten the development of commercially viable ZEV vehicles for ports, helping spur the market beyond Los Angeles and Long Beach. While the CAAP Update is an ambitious plan for emissions reduction in the region, it comes with a possible $14 billion price tag, with the assumption that businesses and taxpayers will foot the bill. LA-LB hope the quality and emissions improvements will make them more desirable than their competitors, but the potential for increased costs and fees may drive cargo shippers to other, less expensive ports.
Tags: California Air Resources Board, Transportation Efficiencies, Zero Emissions, Zero-Emissions Vehicles
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