California Cartage, ports take delivery of 232 clean DTNA trucks

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Daimler Trucks North America on Monday, Dec. 8, held events celebrating delivery of 132 new natural gas-fueled tractors to drivers who contract with California Cartage Co. and 100 new NG trucks for the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles’ Clean Truck Program, marking an innovative partnership between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California Cartage, a private company committed to building a clean drayage fleet.

Nearly $12 million in grant funding for California Cartage’s project has been provided by the South Coast Air Quality Management District using funding from an EPA grant and from California’s Proposition 1B Program. “The air district is very proud to have played an important role in this aggressive alternative fuels project,” says Dr. William Burke, chairman of the agency’s governing board. “This clean truck project is good for California’s environment and California’s residents on all accounts. The project will prove that we can have a thriving port while still protecting public health. These ultra-clean LNG trucks will provide extremely important air-quality benefits to those that live close to the ports and throughout our entire region.”

In addition to the 132 vehicles delivered to California Cartage, the 100 NG vehicles earmarked for deployment by licensed motor carriers and owner-operators doing business with the ports will help meet the objectives of their Clean Truck Program. DTNA says the deployment of these near-zero emissions trucks will lead to immediate improvements in air quality while enabling California Cartage’s drivers and the ports to comply with some of the most stringent emissions reductions standards in the world, setting new benchmarks in the future of harbor drayage.

California Cartage’s new low-emissions natural gas fleet is the result of plans developed by the company working in cooperation with EPA, CARB and SCAQMD to remove older pollution-creating trucks from the harbors. The initiative was developed to make the trucks more affordable for the benefit of owner-operators working with California Cartage. The trucks, Sterling Set-Back 113s, are factory-built to be fueled with natural gas. Suited for port operations as well as natural gas utilities and municipalities, the new NG trucks are powered by the Cummins Westport ISL G engines.

“Our ports are a major economic engine, but that engine needs cleaning,” says Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “The trucks being introduced today support our mission to grow and green the Port of Los Angeles. Through our landmark Clean Truck Program, we are growing our ports and cleaning the air so that Angelenos can breathe easier.”

“This is a proud day for Long Beach,” says Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster, who recently was appointed to chair the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Environmental Committee, a leading position on climate change, air quality and water infrastructure. “We’re making history in our commitment toward cleaner air and marking a significant milestone on our path toward a healthier and more productive port.”

Foster says he commends California Cartage’s role in ascertaining funds and deploying 132 new NG trucks for the benefit of its owner-operator fleet. “Using natural gas in place of other fuels can help ease a number of environmental concerns,” he says. “Natural gas trucks reduce pollutants by more than 90 percent, and the technology has come a long way. While our buses have been using natural gas for years, these new trucks with next-generation natural gas powertrains have more power and burn cleaner.”

“By introducing the Set-Back 113 with natural gas, we’re giving our customers a hard-working truck that reduces both costs and environmental emissions,” says Chris Patterson, president and chief executive officer of Daimler Trucks North America, based in Portland, Ore. “Through the development of this new truck, as well as all the others on exhibit today, we are helping to shape the future of clean technology.”

Patterson says that with an expanded line of Class 3-8 vehicles — including new Freightliner Business Class M2s with natural gas that soon will be made available, as well as Freightliner diesel hybrids, other M2s, FLDs, new severe-duty trucks and, coming soon for 2010, new models with Detroit Diesel’s BlueTec SCR emissions control technology — DTNA’s customers can spec a truck to meet all their applications.

The Cummins Westport ISL G, an 8.9-liter stoichiometric cooled-exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) engine, offers the lowest emissions available in the industry without sacrificing top-level performance and efficiency, DTNA says; available in ratings up to 320 hp, the ISL G already meets EPA 2010 standards with 85 percent lower NOx emissions than the C Gas Plus engine and features the highest power-to-weight ratio in class with an optimized turbocharger. The ISL G also is designed with a maintenance-free exhaust system with a three-way catalyst, according to the company; no further technology or aftertreatment will be required to meet 2010 emissions standards.

“Our tests show this new natural gas technology can save thousands in annual fuel and operating costs per truck,” says Robert Curry, president of California Cartage. “That will help owner-operators and cartage companies save thousands per year in addition to the health benefits of cleaner air and reduced emissions. Our drivers will benefit from federal tax credits for alternative fuel vehicles and alternative fuel incentives, too, which mean that accessibility to NG fuel is on the rise.”

Curry says California Cartage also is proud to be on the cutting edge of creating a cleaner environment for its community. “By replacing 132 old diesel trucks, we will take tons of diesel particulate matter and tons of carbon out of the air over the life of this project (eight years),” he says. According to California Cartage, the new trucks have been assigned to individual small fleets and owner-operators.