Clean Trucks Program drives toward zero emissions

   The next generation of the Clean Trucks Program started Oct. 1, and new trucks entering service at the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles now are required to be model year 2014 or newer.
   The ports enacted the program 10 years ago. On Oct. 1, 2008, pre-2007 big rigs were banned from the San Pedro Bay port complex, resulting in a 97 percent reduction in toxic diesel particulate matter emissions from trucks, according to air quality reports cited by the Port of Long Beach.
   The modernizing of the port trucking fleet also led to significant reductions in all truck-related pollution, with a 79 percent decline in smog-forming nitrogen oxides, while sulfur oxides have plummeted 91 percent and greenhouse gas emissions are down 24 percent. The ports’ Clean Air Action Plan also has cut emissions from ships, locomotives, container yard equipment and harbor craft like tugboats, a press release from the Port of Long Beach said.
   “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 new requirement that trucks be model year 2014 or newer applies only to vehicles that are newly joining the Port Drayage Truck Registry. Trucks already registered as of Sept. 30 will be allowed to continue operating at the ports, as long as they are current on their annual dues and compliant with emission regulations set by the California Air Resources Board.
   The new tariff 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. New strategies seek to phase out older trucks, with a goal of transitioning to 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 Board of Harbor Commissioners has said it may waive the annual Clean Trucks Program registration rate for near-zero and zero-emissions trucks. The board also may charge a rate for cargo moves by trucks but exempt hose meeting near-zero and zero-emissions standards. The ports said they will conduct a truck rate study and feasibility assessments prior to proposing rate changes. About 17,000 trucks are registered to work in the San Pedro Bay port complex.