LA port modifies truck upgrade guidelines

The Los Angeles Harbor Commission announced Dec. 16 that it has approved a second set of modifications to the Port of Los Angeles tariff to allow truckers to continue operating their existing trucks past the ban date of Jan. 1, 2010.

The second set of tariff modifications are designed to be consistent with a Drayage Truck Rule Advisory issued by the California Air Resources Board on Dec. 8, which will allow truckers that have purchased a new truck or retrofit with private funds to continue to operate their existing truck until April 30, 2010, while waiting for the new truck to be delivered or the retrofit to be installed.

The Port of Los Angeles tariff will allow the same extension as CARB for purchase of a truck with private funds. To qualify for the extension based on private purchase of a retrofit, the truck must be a Level 3 retrofit, and it also must have a 25 percent NOx reduction capability in order to be able to operate in the Port of Los Angeles. The Port of Long Beach recently approved similar provisions to its tariff. If the retrofit on order does not have this additional NOx reduction capability, it will not meet the San Pedro Bay Ports environmental requirements, so the extension will not be allowed in either port.

To sign up for this latest extension, truckers need to be registered on both the State and Port Drayage Truck Registry by Dec. 30, and they must provide a copy of a purchase order or other evidence of a commitment of funds for the new truck or retrofit to CARB by Dec. 31. The State has committed to send stickers allowing entry into ports and rail yards statewide to qualifying truckers by Jan. 15, 2010. The two ports have agreed to update their electronic gate entry system for entrance into port terminals by the same date, Jan. 15, 2010.

Officially launched Oct. 1, 2008, the Clean Trucks Program is spurring the replacement of the entire trucking fleet at the nation’s largest port complex. It is on track to achieve an 80 percent reduction in truck-related air pollution nearly two years ahead of schedule, the ports say.

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The Clean Trucks Program is a gradual phasing out of the oldest trucks. Last year, the 1988 and older big rigs were banned. On New Year’s Day 2010, many more will be barred. And finally by 2012, the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles will allow only trucks with 2007 or newer engines. These engines are 80 percent cleaner than average truck in the fleet a couple years ago. The only trucks allowed to enter marine terminals at the ports are those that meet environmental, safety and security standards. Access is controlled with electronic RFID tags.

In phasing out the oldest trucks, the ports have offered financial assistance to those truck owners who needed help to obtain a cleaner truck. Many thousands of trucks already have been replaced. It’s estimated that after the New Year, nearly 8,000 trucks – about 90 percent of the fleet – will meet the stringent 2007 standards.

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