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Port of Los Angeles Bans Trucks that Do Not Meet Emission Standards

The shipping industry is a vast network. It ties people, organizations, and companies together through the products it transports all around the world. If it were a web, ports would be the centers that connect the threads. Ports are incredibly important not just to the shipping industry but to global society. They are where ships dock, where goods are loaded and offloaded from vessels, where crew changes occur and where goods from all over the world can be transported inland by trucks and trains. 

What happens after ships dock and goods are put on trucks is just as important as how vessels are built and operated for the logistics chain to be sustainable. Without efforts to decarbonize trucks and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, reducing emissions and following sustainable practices in the maritime industry will only go so far. 

The Port of Los Angeles is one such port that has made aggressive and proactive strides in reducing air pollution by enforcing progressive bans on trucks that did not meet their emissions guidelines. In 2008, the Port of Los Angeles banned all truck models dating before 1989 and all trucks that did not meet the 2007 emission standards by 2012. In 2018 they did not allow truck models older than 2014 to sign up for the Port Drayage Truck Registry (PDTR) as part of the port’s Clean Truck Program. 

The Clean Truck Program, part of The Port of Los Angeles’ and Port of Long Beach’s Clean Air Action Plan, has reduced air pollution from harbor trucks by more than 90 percent––nearly three years ahead of schedule. 

The program includes the Concession Program, which requires all Licensed Motor Carriers (LMCs) to have a pending or approved concession agreement and are responsible for operating trucks that meet a series of increasingly strict emissions standards.  

Thanks to the stringent steps taken by ports such as the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach, air pollution reduction is no longer a plan but a reality. The Clean Air Action Plan includes up-to-date air quality reports in the San Pedro Bay region. Used to better manage and provide feedback on the ports’ air quality improvement efforts, the ports’ environmental information helps the ports stay transparent and adjust sustainable efforts in real-time, meeting community needs for better air quality. 

Innovative and stringent actions to combat pollution fosters results and vice versa. The San Pedro Bay region ports are seeing a reduction in air pollution thanks to steps taken by trucks coming in and out of their ports. Unlike ships, one doesn’t have to live near a port to see the effects that trucks have on the environment. Trucks can be seen everywhere and contribute to a considerable amount of carbon emissions every year. In the U.S., truck fleets consumed around 2.7 million barrels of fuel every day in 2013 and emitted a total of 530 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. 

However, like ships, trucks are an essential part of the logistics chain to facilitate global trade. They are how inland regions can reap the products brought to ports. Action to reduce air pollution must be taken by multiple companies on multiple levels. Air pollution is not exclusive to ships on the seas or trucks on land. The efforts of the Ports of San Pedro Bay are a great example of how to get tangible results when transparency and stringent restrictions on carbon and greenhouse gas emissions from trucks go hand in hand. That is why companies and ports must look at their transportation’s carbon footprint from all sides: air, sea and land. 

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