The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are forging ahead with their Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP) requiring zero-emission trucks and terminal equipment. The plan, which has come under fire by everyone in the industry except for the two ports, will be put to a vote by the ports’ harbor commissions at a joint public meeting tomorrow, November 2, 2017. It is widely anticipated the commissions of both ports will approve the plan.
Click on the video link above featuring John McLaurin, President Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, highlighting the plan’s pitfalls.
Hubris [hyoo-bris], noun, excessive pride or self-confidence, arrogance, see southern California ports. (Okay, we added that last part.)
Last month, we highlighted the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP) requiring zero-emission trucks and terminal equipment, but it warrants further discussion.
The cost of this program is wildly underestimated by the ports. They are betting on equipment that is yet to be tested and viable. They are also betting the cargo owners so love a Southern California Gateway they are willing to absorb the lion’s share of the burden.
Weigh that thinking with the fact that just last week, the Panama Canal celebrated its 2,000th neopanamax crossing since the opening of the new, larger locks just 15 months ago.
Wake up California! Cargo, like water, will find the course of least resistance.
Ten years ago, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach announced their joint Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP), which called for an aggressive retirement schedule for older trucks, and, in the case of the Port of Los Angeles, a requirement that all truck drivers serving their port be employees rather than have the option of being independent business owners.
The employee-mandate was struck down by the US Supreme Court, and the undisputed and necessary truck retirement schedule forged ahead. Since the CAAP was enforced, the LA/Long Beach port complex has seen an 87% reduction in diesel particulate matter (DPM), 98% reduction in sulfur oxides (SOx), and 57% reduction in nitrogen oxide (NOx). Between 2015 and 2016, the emission levels fell 13%, 14%, 10% respectively.
Now, we have CAAP 3.0, which pushes for zero emission equipment. The plan bets on future reductions by using equipment which is not yet available. It vastly underestimates the costs involved for everyone in the supply chain to comply, and it does not consider the realities of the competitive forces drawing cargo to US east and gulf coast ports.
In fact, a study commissioned by the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association (PMSA) found CAAP 3.0 could actually increase greenhouse gas emissions by 22% as cargo owners choose more economical gateways on the east coast or gulf coast. These ports are further from Asia and will require more fuel and longer voyages.
As an industry, we need to be good shepherds of our environment, and we need to be focused on economic growth. The ports’ plan does nothing to balance these two important goals.
We can do better.
Back in 2006, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach announced their joint Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP) with the goal of reducing emission levels for trucks, yard equipment and ships. The ports differed on the subject of Los Angeles’ requirement that all truck drivers serving their port complex be employees rather than independent owner-operators. The American Trucking Associations (ATA) sued the port on the grounds it violated federal law (Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act – F4A) and won in the US Supreme Court in 2013.
Fast forward, the ports have announced an update to their plan. CAAP 2017 will require further emission reductions and the use of zero-emission vehicles (which are not even feasible yet). Some of the plan highlights are:
- Phase in clean engine standards for trucks and transition to zero-emission drayage trucks by 2035.
- Transition to zero-emission yard equipment by 2030.
- Expand the use of on-dock rail with a goal of 50% of all inbound cargo leaving by rail.
- Develop charging standards for electric cargo-handling equipment.
- Explore short-haul rail, staging yards, truck appointment systems, off-terminal queueing, intelligent transportation systems and other strategies for enhancing efficiencies across the supply chain.
- Develop infrastructure plans to support the electrification and use of alternative fuels for terminal equipment.
We are currently in a 90-day comment period. If you have suggestions or opinions you wish to share with the San Pedro Bay port authorities regarding CAAP 2017, you may do so through February 17, 2017 via this email link