Long Beach Approves Clean Trucks Plan
Port moves forward with groundbreaking clean-air program
March 8, 2008
In a victory for clean air, the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners voted Tuesday, February 19, 2008, to approve key elements of a landmark Clean Trucks Program that will replace and modernize the entire port trucking fleet to slash truck-related air pollution by 80 percent within four years.
After listening to testimony for more than five hours, the Port of Long Beach Commissioners voted unanimously to adopt a truck concession requirement that will help identify "clean" trucks, ensure reliable short-haul ("drayage") service, and improve air quality, security and safety. Only "clean" concession trucks will be allowed to work at the Port of Long Beach.
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The concession requirement allows employee drivers, independent contractor drivers or a combination of employee and contractor drivers to work the Port -- as they do now. But for the first time, the port trucking industry will be required to meet clean truck, maintenance, security and health insurance requirements. Commissioners also finalized a $2 billion subsidy program to finance the lease or purchase of clean trucks.
"Today, the Port has taken a monumental step to improve air quality and protect the health of the entire community," said Mario Cordero, President of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners. "We have worked closely with many community, environmental and business groups, and this plan incorporates their strongest ideas. This the most ambitious, far-reaching clean-air plan ever undertaken by any seaport."
The Commissioners on Tuesday also adopted several other elements of the Clean Trucks Program:
· A revision of the start date for the collection of the Clean Trucks cargo fee to October 1, 2008, to allow time for distribution of radio-frequency identification tags and reader installation.
· Linkage of the Clean Trucks $35 per twenty-foot container unit (TEU) cargo fee and the Port's $15 per TEU infrastructure cargo fee. This change will ensure that the dirty trucks are cleaned up before new infrastructure is built with cargo fee dollars.
· An exemption or partial exemption on the Clean Truck cargo fee for cargo owners who use clean trucks acquired without financing from the Port.
The concessions require Licensed Motor Carriers (LMCs) register their drivers and trucks with the Port, and tag their vehicles with radio-frequency identification devices so the Port can monitor compliance. The LMCs will be required to meet clean truck, security, maintenance and health insurance requirements. The Port will soon announce details on registration.
The elements approved February 19 are key pieces of a sweeping program that has been systematically adopted through several Board votes. In November 2007, the Long Beach and Los Angeles Boards of Harbor Commissioners approved a ban on pre-1989 trucks beginning October 1, 2008. By January 1, 2010, only trucks built after 1993 will be allowed into port shipping terminals, and by January 1, 2012 all trucks must meet 2007 federal emission standards that make new trucks more than 80 percent less polluting than older trucks.
In December 2007, the Commissions approved the cargo fee to accelerate the replacement of the drayage fleet that serves the Port. The fee will end when the fleet of drayage trucks meets Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP) requirements in about 2012. The Port will use the funds to help drivers get new cleaner trucks and ensure that the old, polluting trucks will be scrapped and taken out of circulation, rather than continue to work outside the ports.
While the Port does not own or operate the more than 16,000 drayage trucks that serve Port terminals, the Clean Trucks Program will greatly accelerate the reduction of air pollution and public health risks posed by dirty diesel trucks that would otherwise remain on the roadways for many years if not decades.
The Port of Long Beach is one of the world's busiest seaports, a leader in the goods movement industry and a pioneering environmental steward.
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