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Ports of LA-Long Beach Accelerate Move to Zero-Emissions Trucks

The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will begin collecting their Clean Truck Fund (CTF) Rate on April 1 to help speed the transition to zero-emissions trucks serving the San Pedro Bay port complex.

The action was unanimously approved Thursday by the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners. Revenues will exclusively fund zero-emissions trucks and associated infrastructure to further the port’s goal of eliminating emissions from all trucks calling at the facility by 2035.

The approved CTF rate of $10 per 20-foot equivalent unit (TEU) hauled by non-exempt trucks was jointly set by the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in March 2020.

“The Port of Los Angeles, our longshore workers, the entire supply chain and our frontline communities have demonstrated extraordinary dedication throughout this unprecedented crisis,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “As we continue to move record-breaking cargo through the busiest port in the Western Hemisphere, it is vital that we implement the Clean Truck Fund Rate to expedite the transition of trucks servicing the Port to zero-emissions. Cleaning up the air at our port will protect surrounding neighborhoods, workers and our region as whole.”

To get a head start on funding the deployment of zero emissions trucks, the port will soon seek proposals from local drayage companies partnering with truck manufacturers to deploy 10 zero-emissions short-haul drayage trucks that call at marine terminals and operate within a short distance of the ports. A competitive process will be used to select one team for a $3 million grant toward the grantee’s truck and infrastructure costs.

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“Today’s action by the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners marks the next phase of our transition toward a zero-emissions truck fleet,” Port executive director Gene Seroka said. “The Clean Truck Fund Rate is just one component of the funding needed to achieve our ambitious goals. The transition to ZE trucks will require a broad public-private partnership.”

The port tariff sets the rates, charges, rules and regulations for doing business at the port. With a short list of exemptions, including cargo transported by zero-emission and low-NOx trucks, the CTF rate will be charged to cargo owners whose containerized cargo is trucked in or out of port terminals. The rate will sunset Dec. 31, 2034.

The program was developed with industry and community outreach, including public workshops held in August and September. The rules permanently exempt zero-emission trucks from the rate, as well as loaded containers entering or leaving marine terminals by on-dock rail.  The port will also exempt trucks that meet or exceed California’s low NOx standard through Dec. 31, 2027. However, the low NOx trucks must be enrolled in the Port Drayage Truck Registry and in port service by the end of 2022 to obtain the short-term exemption.

The CTF rate, also due to be implemented by the Port of Long Beach, is expected to initially raise $45 million per port. Staff will develop zero emission incentive program details, like the proposed $3 million 10-unit ZE Program, in a more detailed CTF spending plan for future board approval.

The port is committed to ensuring small businesses and independent truck owners and operators have equal access to the incentives. A Request for Proposal will soon be posted on the Port of Los Angeles’ website to announce a $3 million competitive grant and application process. All incentive programs and awards are subject to board approval.

The CTF rate was among the measures introduced in the 2017 Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP) Update to accelerate progress toward a zero-emissions future, while protecting and strengthening the San Pedro Bay ports’ competitive position in the global economy. Since 2005, port-related emissions in San Pedro Bay have dropped 90 percent for diesel particulate matter, 63 percent for nitrogen oxides and 97 percent for sulfur oxides.

The 2017 CAAP Update also established targets for reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs) from port-related sources. The document calls for the ports to reduce GHGs to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.