Los Angeles port panel OKs clean truck plan

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The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners on Thursday, Nov. 1, approved a progressive ban of the older, dirtier trucks calling at the port that will reduce their harmful diesel emissions by 80 percent within five years, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The clean-truck program, a component of the Clean Air Action Plan approved by the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach last November, will require 16,000 drayage trucks to meet 2007 emissions standards by 2012 through replacement or retrofitting, port authorities told the Times. The program would begin by denying pre-1989 trucks access to port operations on Oct. 1, 2008.

The Port of Long Beach also is set to consider a progressive ban on older trucks when it meets Monday, Nov. 5. The ban would proceed to bar trucks on this schedule:

  • 1989-1993 by 2010;
  • 1994-2003 trucks without a retrofit by 2010; and
  • Pre-2007 by 2012.
  • This would not apply to dedicated-use vehicles, defined as on-road vehicles that do not have separate tractors and trailers, including auto transports. The two plans are stricter than the one proposed by the California Air Resources Board. The ban will rely on radio frequency identification tags placed in trucks; RFID tag readers will be installed at port terminal gates to limit access to clean trucks.

    Critics of the program point out that it fails to provide a mechanism for replacing banned trucks, and could put many of the area’s low-income independent drivers out of business. But Geraldine Knatz, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, told the Times the board hoped to approve the plan’s remaining components — a concession program to administer truck operations, a cargo fee to fund the plan’s requirements, a mechanism to fund truck replacements, and a transportation workers’ security system — on Dec. 14.

    The L.A.-Long Beach port complex is the largest in the United States. Currently, 1,300 motor carriers and 16,000-plus independent owner-operator drivers provide intermodal drayage services to these facilities, through which moves more than 40 percent of all containerized trade in the nation.