Transportation and environmental interests said May 14 they would collaborate in an effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions from trucks serving the nation's ports, beginning with ports in the Southeast that don't have a clean truck program in place.
The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and the Coalition for Responsible Transportation (CRT), a logistics group whose members include some of the world's most prominent manufacturers and retailers, said they plan to work with port and trucking industry officials to remove older, higher-polluting trucks from the nation's port environs. The groups said they would explore financing strategies to help port drivers—many of whom are smaller operators without much capital—fund the acquisition of cleaner, more modern vehicles.
The groups made the announcement at a meeting of South Atlantic and Caribbean port executives in Jacksonville, Fla. Most of CRT's members are local cartage companies that make their living providing drayage service at the nation's ports. But its roster also includes the likes of Hewlett-Packard Co., Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the Home Depot Inc., Nike Inc., and Target Corp.
James Jack, CRT's executive director, said there wasn't any specific Southeast port that the groups were talking to at this time.
Most Southeast ports do not have programs in place to phase out older trucks. By contrast, many West Coast ports have launched such initiatives. In addition, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey announced in March it would ban pre-1994 model year trucks from serving its marine terminals after Jan. 1. The port has made available $28 million in financial assistance—one-quarter of which will come from federal grants—to help operators replace up to 636 trucks with pre-1994 model engines.
The one glaring exception is Los Angeles, where the American Trucking Associations mounted what has become a long-running legal challenge to the port's plan to block independent truck operators from serving the port regardless of their trucks' age or emission levels. ATA has also alleged that the port wants to grant itself discretion to decide which federally qualified operators should serve the port, an illegal intrusion of a local body in the functions of interstate commerce. Port officials have said they want to ensure clean air quality in and around the port without interfering with commercial operations.
Jack of CRT said his group doesn't plan to get involved in the legal controversy at Los Angeles. ATA spokesman Clayton Boyce said the group is not directly involved in the EDF-CRT initiative, but it is cooperating with it.