By Stacey Park, Research Assistant, Center for International Trade and Transportation (CITT)
This year’s State of the Trade and Transportation Town Hall Meeting convened a wide range of professionals from industry, government, and academia. The evening began with a welcome address from Center for International Trade and Transportation (CITT) Executive Director Thomas O’Brien and the Dean of the College of Continuing and Professional Education (CCPE) Jeet Joshee.
“The objectives of the Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP) are clear: the Los Angeles and Long Beach port complex produce pollution that is hazardous for both the environment and public health, thus a zero-emission port complex will rectify the issue,” O’Brien said. “But reaching this goal is a more complicated process.”
“The goal of this Town Hall was to open up the discussion about CAAP 3.0: the pressure of the deadline, the progress of technology, the costs of going zero-emission, economic impact, and ultimately, whether the costs and benefits will balance out,” METRANS Director Genevieve Giuliano said.
With the help of Long Beach State’s Advanced Media Productions, CITT was able to produce a video that encapsulates the complex and varied perspectives surrounding the latest version of the CAAP. The video framed the panel discussion and provided an overview for the audience.
Town Hall Moderator Jolene Hayes, Senior Associate of Fehr & Peers, asked questions about the more pressing issues that have come out of the latest version of the plan. The panelists were were able to speak to costs, benefits, and other impacts from their various backgrounds. To kick off the discussion, Hayes asked, “How do we get there?”—referencing the progress of technology.
“Innovation is coming. It’s for the betterment of what we do,” said Aravind Kailas of the Volvo Group. “Everybody still works in silos. What we want to do is to develop the technology with the customers, the supply chain, and other players and components in mind.”
Don Paul, Executive Director of the Energy Institute at USC, addressed the issue of the necessary energy infrastructure improvements that would be needed for these technological advancements, particularly electricity usage. “The power grid in Southern California is already stressed. For energy infrastructures, ten years is not enough time. It’s not likely a major power plant will be built in the middle of Long Beach.”
Judy Mitchell, South Coast Air Quality Management District member and Mayor Pro Tem of Rolling Hills Estates, addressed the role of regulators to move the plan along in the most productive way. “The regulation tends to be technology forcing. But regulators look at the goals and the timeline and they make adjustments. We are also required to look at the economy and not injure it. So we are constantly doing this balancing act between economy and environmental goals.” Mitchell also noted that collaborative efforts between larger fleet owners and incentive programming could help reach the estimated $7-14 billion dollar costs.
“There are obviously tactical issues about the viability of these technologies. But there are also social issues,” said Philip Davies of Davies Transportation Consulting. Davies raised the issue of truck owners whose trucks will become obsolete in the next two or three years and how leadership needs to address the implications of these potential losses.
The panelists also discussed the potential repercussions of losing discretionary cargo to other ports and the viability of maintaining business at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports. The panel concluded that California’s leadership in moving towards a zero-emission port complex will make way for other ports to follow suit.
Norbert Ore of Strategas Security noted that East Coast ports will gradually keep up if and when more efficient technologies are available. “When I think about ports here, those ports in the east coast don’t even begin to rival what comes through here,” Ore said, emphasizing the capacity of the Long Beach and Los Angeles ports.
Giuliano concluded the discussion with her closing remarks. “There is a high price in being the leader. California is the leader, so we get to make mistakes, try new technologies, and see what works and what doesn’t.” Giuliano also expressed the need for a more effective analysis between cost and benefit in “eliminating what we need to eliminate” to reach an appropriate target given the benefits that can be generated.
The evening closed with the annual presentation of the Domenick Miretti Award, which recognizes an outstanding figure in the local trade and transportation community. Last year’s recipient Norman Fassler-Katz presented this year’s award to CITT Emerita Director Marianne Venieris Gastelum. She closed the evening with her acceptance speech and expressed her gratitude to both Domenick Miretti and CITT.
The CITT State of the Trade and Transportation Town Hall Meeting is an annual event in the spring.
Visit the CITT website: http://bit.ly/2r1xEcj
Watch the full recording of the 2018 Town Hall: http://bit.ly/2HOVhzi
Read about the 2017 version of the CAAP: http://bit.ly/2FgA8c1
From left to right: Tom O’Brien, Norbert Ore, Judith Mitchell, Phil Davies, Gen Giuliano, Don Paul, Aravind Kailas, and Jolene Hayes.
From left to right: Norman Fassler-Katz, Marianne Venieris Gastelum, and Tom O’Brien