Retailers, Environment Groups Unite to Cut Emissions

Retailers, Environment Groups Unite to Cut Emissions

The Coalition for Responsible Transportation, the Environmental Defense Fund, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday announced the launch of the EPA SmartWay Drayage Program, an initiative involving the transportation of cargo that is designed to clean up the air in and around U.S. ports.

The SmartWay Drayage Program, announced at a press conference at the Port of Charleston, is a partnership between stakeholders including major national retailers, trucking companies, port communities, environmental groups and the U.S. EPA to reduce harmful air emissions from port drayage trucks.

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“The partnership will generate private sector investment in clean technology, improve the environmental quality of our nation's port communities and demonstrate the commitment we have made as the shipping industry’s leaders to emissions reductions," said Rick Gabrielson, director of import operations at Target, who also serves as CRT president.

Drayage trucks, typically older and more polluting than long-haul trucks, operate in and around port areas and represent one of the largest sources of diesel emissions associated with ports. The new program was designed specifically to address the environmental issues associated with port trucking, to provide incentives the deployment of newer, cleaner port trucks across the nation, and to recognize SmartWay Drayage Partners for reducing diesel emissions from those trucks.

“This program offers great incentives for independent owner operators and trucking companies to replace their older drayage trucks with cleaner, less polluting models,” said Marcia Aronoff, EDF’s senior vice president for programs.

The SmartWay Drayage Program is based on the SmartWay Transport Partnership, which is an innovative collaboration between U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and goods movement stakeholders, which provides a framework to assess transportation-related emissions and energy efficiency, and recognize superior environmental performance.

Through the SmartWay Drayage program, port trucking companies and independent owner-operators sign a partnership agreement and commit to track diesel emissions, replace older dirtier trucks with cleaner, newer ones, and achieve at least a 50 percent reduction in particulate matter and 25 percent reduction in nitrous oxide, below the national industry average, within three years.

Similarly, SmartWay retailers sign a partnership agreement where they commit to ship at least 75 percent of their port cargo with SmartWay trucking carriers within three years. By giving business priority to SmartWay drayage carriers, the program creates a market-driven approach to incentivize emissions reductions at port communities across the country.

CRT’s SmartWay Drayage Charter Partners among retailers include Best Buy, Hewett Packard, Home Depot, JC Penney, Lowe’s, Nike, Target, Walmart, and the following port trucking carriers: California Cartage Express, California Multimodal, Container Connection, Evans Delivery Company, GSC Logistics, PDS Trucking, Performance Team/GaleTriangle, Total Transportation Services and Western Ports Transportation.

-- Contact Peter T. Leach at pleach@joc.com. Follow him on Twitter @petertleach.