If Southern California is to meet federal pollution reduction standards established for 2030, it appears inevitable that the goods movement industry will have to rely on zero-emission and near zero-emission vehicles, according to a top regulatory official in the region.
The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have implemented the nation’s most successful clean air plan. Shipping lines, terminal operators, harbor truckers, railroads and tugboat operators have also registered significant reductions in harmful emissions the past five years.
Nevertheless, the goods movement industry must reduce emissions by another two-thirds beyond what is on the books if federal standards are to be met, said Barry Wallerstein, executive officer of the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
“This points to zero and near zero-emission standards,” he told the annual meeting of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association Wednesday in Los Angeles.
If the region fails to meet the federal clean air standards, it risks losing much-needed transportation funds, Wallerstein said.
The ports and other sectors of the goods movement industry are developing technologies that significantly reduce emissions, including drayage trucks powered by electricity or fuel cells, Tier 2 and Tier 3 locomotives and shore-side electric power for vessels at berth.
Infrastructure improvements, such as adding truck lanes to the I-710 freeway that serves the ports, will reduce truck idling, and operational improvements that improve cargo-handling and shorten truck turn times will also be part of the mix, Wallerstein said.
There is no doubt that meeting the federal standards will be a “daunting challenge,” but Wallerstein said he is confident that the goods movement industry, working with regulatory agencies such as the South Coast AQMD, will achieve the goals.
He also noted that the AQMD continues to help fund construction of key infrastructure projects, purchase of low-emission vehicles and development of new technologies that will reduce pollution even further.
Many of the technologies that are being deployed in Los Angeles-Long Beach are achieving several goals. They are reducing health-risk pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, they are reducing carbon emissions and they are improving fuel efficiency, which is of economic value to the private sector. Furthermore, some of the technologies are being developed in Southern California.
“In our view, there are a lot of opportunities,” Wallerstein said.