Southern California trucking companies have proudly showcased their near-zero-emission (NZE) natural gas vehicles in a clean truck parade to commemorate the opening of the new Port of Long Beach bridge. The seven fleet operators—NFI, Total Transportation Solutions, Inc. (TTSI), MDB Transportation, Tradelink Transport, Pacific 9 Transportation, Overseas Freight, and Green Trucking—collectively operate 157 natural gas heavy-duty trucks that log more than 6.4 million miles per year, hauling freight daily to and from the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. In total, more than 700 natural gas trucks regularly haul freight to and from the two ports, representing approximately 6% of the active drayage truck fleet.
The clean truck parade was organized by the Port of Long Beach and the Harbor Trucking Association, a coalition of intermodal carriers serving America’s West Coast Ports.
“Today’s clean truck parade demonstrates our members’ commitment to reducing their carbon footprint by investing in sustainable transportation technologies and fuels,” noted Weston LaBar, CEO of the Harbor Trucking Association. “The near-zero emission natural gas trucks on display today have already made a measurable impact on emissions from the drayage truck fleet serving the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and have played a large role in the success of the ports’ Clean Trucks Program.”
In May 2020, the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles upgraded NZE heavy-duty natural gas trucks to the highest Technology Readiness Level—TRL 9— in the Feasibility Assessment for Drayage Trucks. NZE natural gas trucks are the first technology in the Ports’ assessment to achieve the TRL 9 rating.
The fleets in the parade operate natural gas trucks that were factory built by Freightliner, Kenworth, Mack, Peterbilt and Volvo, and are commercially available for purchase across the nation. The heavy-duty, class 8 trucks feature Cummins Westport’s NZE ISX12N near-zero emission (.02 g NOx / bhp-hr) natural gas engine, which is 90% cleaner than the EPA’s current heavy-duty NOx emission standard. The near-zero ISX12N engine even powers several heavy-duty trucks that operate in the ports’ overweight corridor with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of up to 96,000 pounds, providing comparable operating capabilities as its diesel counterparts.
Each day, more than 17,000 drayage trucks haul freight to and from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach—nearly 40% of the nation’s total containerized import traffic and 25% of its total exports combined. Heavy-duty diesel trucks are one of the largest sources of emissions in Southern California, contributing to the region’s consistently poor air quality—the worst in the nation.
Several of the fleets participating in the parade have received incentive funds from the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) or other programs in California to accelerate their fleet turnover. Southern California only has until the end of 2022 to significantly cut NOx emissions in order to reach minimum standards set by the federal government for clean and healthy air, known as National Ambient Air Quality Standards, or NAAQs. Failure to meet these standards can trigger fines and penalties, including withholding billions of dollars of federal highway funds.
“I commend the fleets participating in today’s clean truck parade for being at the forefront of reducing emissions. Cleaning up our heavy-duty fleets is critical to improve our air quality across the entire region, particularly in disadvantaged communities,” said Wayne Nastri, executive officer at South Coast AQMD.
Clean Energy provides the fleets represented in the clean truck parade with 100% renewable natural gas. Southern California drayage fleets have access to an extensive public natural gas refueling network from Clean Energy, Trillium, SoCalGas and other fuel providers, including multiple high-volume truck capable stations in the San Pedro Bay Ports, Southeast Los Angeles, and Inland Empire region.
In July, Clean Energy announced a partnership with Chevron called “Adopt-a-Port” that will allow truck operators serving the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to subsidize the cost of buying new near-zero natural gas trucks. Truck operators participating in the program will fuel with renewable natural gas, reducing smog-forming NOx emissions by 98% while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions compared to diesel trucks.
Source: California Natural Gas Vehicle Partnership (CNGVP)