LONG BEACH, CA --- The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners have given preliminary approval to a proposal aimed at spurring private investment in the Port of Long Beach Clean Trucks Program.
Commissioners backed a plan that would provide incentives to port truckers to quickly acquire cleaner-running big-rigs -- especially trucks that run on alternative fuels like liquefied natural gas (LNG).
The proposal, which will come back before the Commission for final consideration on April 6, would eliminate cargo fees on some trucks starting May 4, in response to the goods movement industry's demand for privately financed big-rigs. It also drops the fee for those who buy Port-subsidized trucks that run on LNG.
The revisions will help truck owners comply with the gradual phasing out of older, dirtier vehicles, as required by the Clean Trucks Program adopted by the Port of Long Beach.
"These changes will help keep the Clean Trucks Program on target to dramatically reduce pollution from port-related trucking in Southern California," said James C. Hankla, president of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners. "The economy has changed, the drayage industry has changed, and we need to be pro-active with our response."
The Clean Trucks Program started October 1, 2008, with a ban on 1988 and older trucks. On February 18, 2009, the Port initiated a Clean Truck Fee of $35 per 20-foot container and $70 for larger containers to provide truck owners with financial assistance for replacement vehicles. In the current economic climate, many importers and exporters have favored truckers who privately finance clean trucks and are therefore not required to pay the clean truck fee.
The changes to the Clean Trucks Program would eliminate the clean truck fee for cargo hauled by the following:
- Trucks bought without Port assistance. Previously, there was a 50-percent fee for some of this cargo. The scrapping of an old truck will no longer be required.
- LNG-fueled trucks purchased with Port assistance. Again, the scrapping of an old truck will no longer be required. Cargo carried by privately purchased LNG trucks is already exempt.
- About 500 trucks acquired with the help of the Gateway Cities Program in recent years.
- And, the first 40 or so trucks financed by the Clean Trucks Program.
In order to put more emphasis on LNG in the Port-funded truck program, commissioners shelved an earlier proposal to reduce by 50 percent the fee for containers hauled by clean diesel trucks purchased with Port assistance.
The proposed changes are also expected to ease the burden on industry by making the Clean Truck Fee exemptions very similar at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.
Using clean truck fee revenues, the Clean Trucks Program offers grants and leases that cover as much as 80 percent of the cost of a new truck. (To find out how to apply, call (866) 721-5686.)
Beginning Jan. 1, 2010, 1993 and older trucks will be banned from the Port, and unretrofitted 1994 to 2003 trucks will also be banned. By January 1, 2012, all trucks must meet 2007 federal emission standards.