Reducing air pollution around seaports has been a touchy subject in recent years, particularly in California, where mandates to clean up drayage truck emissions have generated lawsuits and created conflict among drivers, environmental groups, shippers, and carriers. But does addressing drayage-related pollution have to be so contentious? No, says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which announced earlier this week that it would extend its collaborative SmartWay program to port drayage carriers.
SmartWay is a public-private partnership between the EPA, environmental organizations, and cargo stakeholders, including carriers and shippers. It provides a framework for assessing transportation-related emissions and energy efficiency and publicly recognizes superior environmental performance. Until now it has been available only to over-the-road truckers and railroads.
The new SmartWay Drayage Program was developed by the EPA with input from the Environmental Defense Fund and the Coalition for Responsible Transportation (CRT), a group of importers, exporters, trucking companies, truck manufacturers, and ocean carriers. Under the program, port trucking companies and independent owner-operators make a commitment to track their diesel emissions; replace older, dirtier trucks with newer, cleaner ones; and achieve at least a 50-percent reduction in particulate matter and a 25-percent reduction in nitrous oxide emissions within three years.
Participating shippers, which include some of the nation's biggest retailers, will commit to ship at least 75 percent of their port cargo with SmartWay drayage carriers within three years. This will give drayage firms a monetary incentive to reduce their emissions. Those carriers will also be eligible to participate in programs that provide low-interest loans and down-payment assistance for transitioning to clean trucks.
CRT's SmartWay Drayage Charter Partners include Best Buy, Hewlett Packard, The Home Depot, JC Penney, Lowe's, Nike, Target, and Walmart. Founding carriers include California Cartage Express, California Multimodal, Container Connection, Evans Delivery Company, GSC Logistics, PDS Trucking, Performance Team/GaleTriangle, Total Transportation Services, and Western Ports Transportation.