Oakland port truckers seek emissions rule delay

Drayage trucking companies that serve the Port of Oakland, which use primarily owner-operators, are seeking support to delay a California Air Resources Board mandate that requires trucks to be retrofitted with nitrogen oxide-reduction equipment by 2014.

A trade group representing port truck operators estimates that without a postponement in the NOx requirement 4,400 trucks of 1994-2006 model years would have to be replaced with 2007 or newer models by January 2014. Last December, CARB voted against a proposal to push back NOx emissions compliance to 2020.

The West State Alliance has contacted Oakland city officials and port executives for meetings to discuss the situation and to appeal to CARB to reconsider the deadline. “We want CARB to be responsive,” said Ron Light, West State executive director.

Light said the drayage truckers face a series of deadlines that are expensive and could put several operators out of business. By January 2012, 700 trucks of 2004 engine model year would require retrofits under a Phase I diesel emissions reduction mandated by CARB. By January 2013, another 1,700 trucks of 2005-2006 engine model years would require retrofits.

Light said many operators could meet the deadlines by purchasing diesel particulate filters. They would face a problem, however, in complying with the NOx requirement in 2014 that “imposes a second wave of regulation falling right on the heels of diesel emissions reduction,” he said in an email.

No NOx filters are available and none is under development, Light said. A filter manufacturer said in a letter to West State that the CARB requirements are far beyond the capabilities of current research.

The result would be that about 4,400 trucks would have to be replaced, at an estimated cost of $65,000 or more per truck, Light said. Those trucks represent about 75 percent of trucks working the port.