Port emissions program shows signs of success
// 90 percent of trucks meet 2010 clean air standards
A recent study shows that 90 percent of the heavy-duty trucks serving terminals meet the Port of Tacoma’s 2010 clean truck standards. That is 4 percent more trucks than a year ago explained Ron Stuart, environmental project manager for the port.
The study, presented to port commissioners on Feb. 18, captured about 3,100 short-haul drayage trucks that regularly serve terminals on the Tideflats. Along with highlighting the 90 percent benchmark set by trucks this year, staff also noted that about 6 percent meet the 2015 standard of model year 2007 or newer - up 2 percent from last year.
“Right now the strategy we’ve taken, I believe, is the right one,” said John Wolfe, deputy director for the port. “We’re really working in partnership not just with the terminals, but also with the trucking companies to ensure the best benefits.”
The goal for the port’s Clean Truck Program is to convert its drayage fleet to cleaner trucks. Port staff has identified several pre-qualified drayage trucking companies and owners or contractors that meet its air quality standards. This pre-qualified list highlights firms that comply with the program standards and are partners in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay program.
Heavy diesel trucks make up about 1 percent of all port-related emissions. Commissioner Connie Bacon had concerns about the amount of resources going into reducing just 1 percent of the overall port emissions. She also questioned what staff had planned to fix other port emissions concerns.
“This is a beautifully done program,” Bacon said. “However, I’m seeing it to be such a tiny part of the problem with a lot of resources devoted to it.”
The Clean Truck Program’s 2010 standards, aimed at reducing port-related diesel particulate emissions, require trucks to have 1994 model-year engines or newer.
Clean air goals were adopted in early 2008 as part of the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy, a partnership among the Port of Tacoma, Port of Seattle and Port Metro Vancouver, B.C. The strategy outlines jointly established short- and long-term clean air goals for ships, cargo-handling equipment, rail, trucks and harbor craft.
In 2009, the port launched its Clean Truck Program, adopting the regional strategy’s goals as standards.
Commission President Don Johnson noted that this program has shown a proactive way to solve a major issue. He also commented that the program has the potential to inspire possible statewide changes in trucking emissions, because it has proven to be successful so far at the port.
Looking toward the future, the port still needs to retrofit or replace 10 percent of its entire trucking fleet to meet the strategy’s goals for 2010, Stuart told commissioners.
Anna Soderstrom, container terminal business manager for the port, updated commissioners on several future steps staff has planned to get the remaining 10 percent of trucks up to standards.
Those plans include updating trucking fleets about possible funding opportunities for modernization of their vehicles, improving their communication among the trucking community and helping to promote companies that embrace and meet clean air standards.
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