Groups to launch Clean Trucks Initiative at Southeastern ports

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The Coalition for Responsible Transportation and Environmental Defense Fund on Friday, May 14, announced a joint Clean Trucks Initiative to develop clean truck programs at ports throughout the United States, beginning with those in the Southeast. The groups made the announcement in Jacksonville, Fla., before the South Atlantic and Caribbean Ports Association and highlighted opportunities for other ports and their customers to form similar partnerships.

“This collaborative effort is a critical first step toward addressing air pollutants released from heavy-duty diesel trucks, traditionally one of the largest sources of pollution at ports,” says Environmental Defense Fund Toxicologist Dr. Elena Craft. “Clean trucks mean cleaner air, and cleaner air helps save lives and prevents disease. As the nation struggles with poor air quality around goods movement areas, successful partnerships among diverse groups will be key to finding solutions.”

The groups say the initiative builds a partnership between the retail industry and trucking and port communities to improve air quality in and around ports. The framework includes guidelines for engaging stakeholders, creating an action plan as well as implementation strategies.

“Since we use these ports every day, it is essential to retailers like Lowe’s that successful clean truck programs are enacted at our nation’s ports,” says Steve Palmer, vice president of transportation for Lowe’s, a CRT member. “This initiative has our full support. Replacing high-polluting trucks that transport products from the ports to distribution facilities is another way companies can reduce their supply chain environmental footprint.”

The CRT/EDF Clean Trucks Initiative is a framework designed to facilitate a working partnership with individual ports across the country in a manner that recognizes their individual needs and the needs of their stakeholders. The framework also recognizes the critical need to partner with the trucking community to ensure that clean truck programs are economically sustainable for the thousands of drivers who service our nation’s ports by providing them with public and private sources of financial support to retire older, higher-polluting trucks.

Key features of the CRT/EDF Clean Trucks Initiative include: engaging with port communities and stakeholders to identify opportunities to partner together to reduce diesel pollution from port drayage activities; conducting an emissions inventory from port-related activities to assess opportunities for air quality improvement; developing a collaborative and stakeholder-driven process to set goals for air quality improvement from port drayage activities; creating an action plan for meeting those air quality goals that recognizes the unique needs of individual ports and ensures that drivers have the financial support they need to retire high-polluting trucks; and implementing air quality action plans through the collaborative efforts of ports and their customers.