Following on from that, the Port of Long Beach Harbour Commissioners are now considering a Clean Trucks Fee to help put a new generation of cleaner trucks into service. “Dirty diesel trucks are a major source of port-related air pollution and present an unacceptable health risk to the public,” said port executive director Richard Steinke. “The Clean Trucks Fee, if approved by the Board, would generate US$1.6bn to help fund cleaner trucks and reduce air pollution.”
The proposed fee would place a US$35 charge on every loaded cargo container entering or leaving the Ports by road (drayage) truck beginning June 1, 2008. The fee would not apply to containers entering or leaving the Ports by train and would end when the trucks meet Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP) requirements in about 2012.
“The ports do not own or operate the drayage trucks that serve port terminals,” Steinke explained. “However, to achieve the aggressive clean-air goals outlined in the CAAP, we believe that a progressive ban on dirty trucks, followed by the proposed Clean Trucks Fee, would be the most direct way to cut air pollution and reduce public health risks.”
Importantly, Steinke said, the Port will use the funds to ensure that the old, polluting trucks will be scrapped and taken out of circulation, rather than continuing to work outside the ports.
The Port of Los Angeles is considering a similar fee, so the Clean Trucks Fee would apply to the entire San Pedro Bay. The fees would be collected by the ports’ shipping terminals, and the trucks would be monitored for compliance by radio frequency tracking devices or similar identification technologies.
All funds collected by the two ports would be used for the replacement of about 16,800 trucks by 2012 with clean diesel trucks, trucks fueled by liquefied natural gas (LNG), or other approved technologies that can achieve the 2007 standard adopted in the CAAP.
“We acknowledge that this fee will result in additional costs to cargo owners and may ultimately increase slightly the cost of goods,” Steinke said. “However, the ports cannot continue to effectively move goods without reducing air pollution and public health risks.”