Tomorrow marks first anniversary of Long Beach Port’s Clean Truck Program

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clean-trucks-lb-portAt its one-year anniversary, the Port of Long Beach Clean Trucks Program is on track to nearly achieve its goal of an 80 percent reduction in diesel truck pollution, two years ahead of schedule.

The Port’s Clean Trucks Program started October 1, 2008, with the aim of dramatically slashing by 2012 air pollution from the thousands of trucks that haul cargo containers to and from Port shipping terminals. The centerpiece of the program is a progressive ban to phase out the oldest, highest-polluting trucks in favor of trucks that meet tough 2007 federal emission standards.

However, thanks to an unexpectedly rapid turnover of vehicles as truck owners moved quickly to comply with looming deadlines, the program will prompt a near-complete conversion to cleaner trucks by the next “ban” deadline, January 1, 2010.

“The Clean Trucks Program, in just one year, has been extraordinarily successful in meeting its clean-air goals,” said Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster. “I give a lot of credit to the Port, the trucking industry, and importers and exporters for this achievement. It’s through their support that we are continuing to improve air quality and reducing health risks here in Long Beach and throughout the region.”

As of mid-September, nearly 5,000 clean trucks – big rigs that meet 2007 federal emissions standards or better – are moving more than half of the truck-hauled cargo at the Port of Long Beach.

“In a few months, we’ll see nearly all the truck-hauled containers moved by clean trucks,” said Richard D. Steinke, Port of Long Beach Executive Director. “The trucking industry is to be commended for turning over its truck fleet so rapidly.”

Approved by the Board of Harbor Commissioners in 2007, the Clean Trucks Program established a phase-out of the older trucks along with a system to subsidize the cost of new vehicles for truck operators who required financial assistance. The program debuted Oct. 1, 2008, with a ban on 1988 and older trucks. On January 1, 2010, 1993 and older trucks will be banned, as well as 1994 to 2003 trucks that are not retrofitted to reduce air pollution.

On February 19, 2009, the ports started charging a fee of $35 per 20-foot container for all cargo not hauled by “clean trucks.” The Clean Truck Fee proved to be a motivator for the industry to buy new trucks largely on its own.

Other Clean Trucks facts:

  • About 13,000 trucks have worked in the Port since July 1, 2009, but 52 percent of the container moves have been performed by the nearly 5,000 clean trucks.
  • About 5 percent of the truck fleet currently is powered by natural gas, one of the alternative fuels which the Port is seeking to foster for harbor service.
  • The Board of Harbor Commissioners recently agreed to simplify the Clean Trucks Program by dropping the pre-payment requirement for the Clean Trucks Fee, if the cargo is moved by clean trucks or train. Dropping the pre-payment requirement eliminates an unnecessary administrative burden for importers and exporters.

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