The Long Beach board of harbor commissioners has approved a natural gas-powered truck exemption from the Clean Truck Fund Rate as a transitional step to a future when zero-emissions cargo trucks are widely available.
Natural gas trucks are lower emitters of nitrogen oxides, a building block of smog, and provide a step toward cleaner air as the Port of Long Beach strives to meet the goals laid out in the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP).
In considering a rate to encourage the trucking industry to invest in cleaner vehicles and reach zero emissions for cargo trucking by 2035, the Port of Long Beach and Port of Los Angeles have set a rate of $10 per 20-foot equivalent unit – a standard measure for one 20-foot-long cargo container. The ports have not yet implemented that rate, but are working on a system with a third-party vendor that will collect the rate for the ports.
“These trucks will emit 90% less nitrogen oxides than equivalent vehicles today,” says Mario Cordero, executive director of the Port of Long Beach. “The question we were asking ourselves was do we reduce emissions now or do we wait for tomorrow? For our community, and our commitment to the Clean Air Action Plan, the answer is now.”
The low nitrogen oxides exemption will apply to trucks picking up or dropping off loaded containers that use natural gas engines meeting the 0.02 grams of nitrogen oxides per brake horsepower-hour standard. The vehicles must be purchased and registered in the Port Drayage Truck Registry by Dec. 31, 2022.
Phasing out older, more polluting trucks has been key to clean air gains the San Pedro Bay ports have made since the original Clean Truck Program was launched in 2008. Diesel emissions from trucks have been cut by as much as 97% compared to 2005 levels. Trucks remain the port’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions and the second highest source of nitrogen oxides.
The CAAP has established a goal of zero-emissions trucks by 2035. A key component of the overall strategy to transition to a zero-emissions truck fleet is an updated Clean Truck Program incentivizing the development and adoption of new technology. The Clean Truck Fund rate is expected to generate $80 million in the first year.