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Coalition seeks to increase “green” port truck population

Aug. 31, 2009
The Coalition for Responsible Transportation (CRT) has formed a partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help develop a national SmartWay certification program and rating system

In an effort to boost deployment of “green” port drayage trucks, the Coalition for Responsible Transportation (CRT) has formed a partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help develop a national SmartWay certification program and rating system, mirroring the SmartWay program currently in place for over-the-road (OTR) freight carriers.

“Drayage trucks are high profile; they get a lot of attention from the local communities that surround many ports,” James Jack, CRT’s executive director, told FleetOwner. “What we’re trying to do with a national SmartWay certification program for port drayage vehicles is create momentum for greener models using the same set of incentives in place for OTR truckers.”

Jack said CRT has convened a working group consisting of major national shippers, ocean carriers, and port drayage providers to help develop a “green drayage truck” rating system that will eventually provide a national framework to measure emissions levels of port trucking activities, set benchmarks for air quality improvement at our nation’s ports, and certify emission reductions that are achieved through the deployment of clean port trucks by members of the shipping industry.

One reason for tapping the SmartWay model comes from CRT’s diverse membership, as the group is comprised of: national shippers including Target, Best Buy, Gap Inc., The Home Depot, HP, Lowe’s, Nike, and Wal-Mart Stores; ocean carriers including NYK Group Companies, Hanjin Shipping, and “K” Line America; and drayage providers and equipment manufacturers including California Multimodal, LLC, Container Connection, GSC Logistics, Intermodal Bridge Transport, PDS Trucking, Southern Counties Express, and Total Transportation Services.

Initially, the SmartWay port drayage model will be developed based on air quality and truck fleet data that has been collected through clean truck deployments at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which collectively represent the largest U.S. seaport for ocean freight, said Jack. The goal is to ultimately use the model developed in Southern California as a template for a national SmartWay port drayage rating system that would be individually tailored to major seaports across the country.

“We want to use the same set of financial incentives deployed in the OTR market to encourage the use of diesel-electric hybrids and other ‘green’ truck models in port drayage,” Jack said. “Shippers would commit to reserving freight or offer higher rates to those drayage operators that use ‘green’ port trucks complying with the SmartWay standards. The financial incentives are the critical component as port fleets can’t invest in green technology without the support of their customer base.”

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