California ports announce Air Quality Award winners

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The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach recently selected local maritime and cargo companies as this year’s recipients of the Clean Air Action Plan Air Quality Awards, an honor presented to those taking extraordinary measures to cut air emissions, modernize facilities and implement innovative operations to reduce air pollution.

“These partners have shown a real commitment to cleaner and greener port operations, going above and beyond what is required,” says Geraldine Knatz, Port of Los Angeles executive director. “These awards highlight what can be achieved when entities join forces and embrace innovation to better the environment.”

Now in their fourth year, the annual Air Quality Awards were initiated shortly after the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach approved the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan in 2006. Port tenants and other organizations that serve the ports are eligible to be nominated. The judging panel includes port staff, as well as representatives from the South Coast Air Quality Management District, California Air Resources Board and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“The Clean Air Action Plan awards are a fantastic way to put a spotlight on the oftentimes unheralded efforts of the goods movement industry to meet and exceed air quality goals and to invent a better way to cleaner air for everyone,” says Richard Steinke, Port of Long Beach executive director. “We congratulate all of the winners.”

Motor carriers receiving awards include:
• The Clean Truck Coalition, a group of 10 family-owned licensed motor carriers that created a partnership and “pooling agreement” that required its members to share information to better utilize their collective truck fleets. Such measures included operating more vehicles at night to reduce traffic congestion and sharing equipment to reduce containerless truck trips back to the ports. The CTC also invested $109 million in new equipment, including nearly 1,000 new diesel and liquefied natural gas trucks, which represent about 11 percent of all new trucks at the San Pedro Bay Port complex;
• Ability/Tri-Modal Transportation Services Inc., a third-generation privately held trucking, warehousing and distribution company that serves both ports. Over the last two years, the company has replaced its entire fleet of 51 drayage trucks with port-certified clean trucks, resulting in emissions reductions. Active in various environmentally-focused initiatives, including the EPA SmartWay program – a voluntary federal initiative that encourages environmentally cleaner, more fuel-efficient transportation options – Ability/Tri-Modal also has been a key participant in port efforts to reduce gate congestion, terminal queue times and truck idling; and
• Yusen Terminals Inc., a cargo terminal operator at the Port of Los Angeles. YTI voluntarily initiated a number of innovative operational improvements to reduce emissions and increase efficiency, including restructuring its terminal traffic flow patterns to reduce the distance that trucks and workers need to travel to complete cargo pickups and dropoffs, and implemented a free-flow operation for all near-dock rail moves, lessening turn times and truck idling within the terminal. Nearly one third of cargo is now loaded directly onto rail cars at the terminal, which eliminates the need for transporting goods to other multiuser rail facilities located outside the port complex. YTI also automated its exit gate procedures to reduce truck queues and idling. Taken together, these measures have meant less emissions and increased efficiency at YTI’s terminal.