Searchable Goods Movement Timeline

Welcome to the METRANS Goods Movement Timeline. This is a searchable timeline of activities tied to goods movement, logistics and international trade based upon items from the popular press.

Given our location and the importance of this region as an international trade gateway, many of the entries pertain to Southern California. We do however draw from state and national press as well. Some articles' links may have expired, or you may have to pay a fee or register on the Web site where they originally appeared to access the complete article. Our goal however is to provide the researcher with enough information to track significant events over time as they have occurred in key areas like legislation, finance, and security.

This timeline grew out of timelines initially developed for METRANS research projects in the area of goods movement. Earlier entries (before 2005) were therefore not prepared with a searchable database in mind and will be less detailed. We hope, however, that they remain a useful resource.

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Nov 07, 2017

Port plan offers healthier future for our children and grandchildren

Online Edition

If you need evidence that we do not have to make the false choice between prosperity and environmental health, look no further than the twin ports of the San Pedro Bay.

Our ports are the beating heart of Southern California’s economy — supporting one out of every nine jobs in our region, and nearly three million across the America. Close to 40 percent of all goods shipped into the United States come in through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

That is an extraordinary economic impact, but the operations at these indispensable gateways to international commerce cause significant air pollution. Our communities deserve cleaner air, and that’s why the ports set out a landmark Clean Air Action Plan in 2006 to reduce emissions in a meaningful, measurable ways that improve air quality and protect public health.

The plan has already challenged us to deploy strategies that make real progress on reducing air pollution, and we know that it’s working — since the CAAP was adopted, we have reduced diesel emissions at the ports by 87 percent, and cut greenhouse gas emissions overall by nearly 20 percent.

Last week, our harbor commissions took this work even further by approving the first CAAP update in seven years: it includes measures that will help us reduce greenhouse gases 80 percent by 2050 and keep us on the path we set this summer for the ports to reach a goal of 100 percent zero emission drayage trucks by 2035; strategies to transition terminal equipment to zero emissions by 2030; and new incentives to help lower emissions by slowing ships down, and encouraging clean retrofits.

The CAAP also includes a new truck appointment system, to be in place by 2020, that will reduce truck wait times, so that the industry can be as efficient and profitable as possible.

And the ports will advocate together for the use of other possible funding sources — the Volkswagen settlement fund, the state’s Cap and Trade program, and other state and federal grants — to help the industry attain the goals of the CAAP Update.

The CAAP has helped deliver extraordinary progress over these last 11 years — but the truth is that our work has just begun. Realizing the goals in the new plan update will demand courage, compromise and bold leadership from our cities, the industry and everyone with a stake in a more sustainable future at our ports.

The road may be long, but we cannot afford to lose sight of our responsibility to shape a healthier future for our children and grandchildren. Let’s draw inspiration from the spirit of collaboration — between residents, industry stakeholders, environmental advocates, labor leaders, and elected officials — that has brought us this far, and work even harder to make more progress together in the months and years to come.

Online Edition

If you need evidence that we do not have to make the false choice between prosperity and environmental health, look no further than the twin ports of the San Pedro Bay.

Our ports are the beating heart of Southern California’s economy — supporting one out of every nine jobs in our region, and nearly three million across the America. Close to 40 percent of all goods shipped into the United States come in through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Nov 08, 2017

Trolly-like system for heavy-duty trucks tested near the ports of LA, Long Beach

Online Edition

A new zero-emissions technology designed for freight-transport trucks is making its U.S. debut along an industrial strip in Carson, where testing is underway for future use at the ports.

The $13.5 million test system, called eHighway, connects trucks that have electric motors with an overhead system of electrified wires that guide them independently — reminiscent of a streetcar.

Unlike a trolley, however, it moves heavy-duty trucks on public roads without tracks.

It’s one of several initiatives that environmental advocates and regulators believe show promise in lowering the extensive air pollution in the dense communities around the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which together emit 100 tons of smog daily.

The 1-mile-long test track was financed by the Port of Long Beach, LA Metro, the California Energy Commission, the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a nonprofit group of local environmental advocates who won a legal settlement against China Shipping for pollution in the ports area.

“We saw the potential to extend the zero-emissions range in drayage (container or freight) trucks in communities that need it the most,” said Morgan Wyenn, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, which helped distribute the legal settlement over China Shipping. “We’re very proud to have given $4 million toward this project. We want the ports and the city to get on a real path to zero-emissions trucks.”

The developer of eHighway, Siemens Industry Inc., provided a public demonstration of the system on Wednesday along Alameda Street, from East Lomita Boulevard to the Dominguez Channel.

The test trucks —  an all-electric, a natural-gas hybrid-electric, and a diesel-hybrid  — glided silently along the track, surrounded by the roar of combustion-engine trucks moving cargo from the ports, rail yards, and among the many nearby industrial operations.

The track faces Andeavor’s massive refinery complex, Kinder Morgan’s oil pipeline and storage facility, and heavy diesel-truck traffic. It will remain there for about six months, while company officials test for kinks and its most efficient uses.

Besides the track, technology is connected to the trucks via large rectangular boxes behind the cabs. Sensors can detect when the overhead wires are above, and extend automated arms to connect with them. The sensors also can trigger disconnection from the wires, and reliance on the truck’s motor.

“(The technology) detects the contact lines, so it knows when the lines are above it,” said Siemens Vice President Andreas Thon. “This system is, in my opinion, the ideal solution for these heavy duty trucks.

“Americans rely on the goods and services that are carried by freight. But with that mode of transport predicted to double by 2050, only one-third of this additional travel can be handled by trains.”

The German company has already built the system in Germany and Sweden. But the U.S. poses special challenges, particularly in industrial urban areas with complex underground power lines that have to be negotiated to install the electrified overhead lines. In fact, this test was cut short from a year to six months because of a conflict with underground energy lines.

What’s more, government funding would be needed to install extensive eHighway infrastructure.

Last week, the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports approved a Clean Air Action Plan to eliminate emissions entirely by 2035.

But the technologies that will be adopted to accomplish that goal aren’t yet clear. Now, low-emission natural gas-powered freight trucks provide the best solution because they are more affordable and can be used on long-haul trips, officials said.

Trucks with electric engines likely will be first rolled out on short trips from the ports to rail yards, said Matt Miyasato, chief scientist at the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the region’s air quality watchdog.

“We’re interested in (eHighway) because it has the potential to haul containers with no emissions. We think that, in the future, we’re going to have to be very selective in the way we deploy technologies.”

Online Edition

A new zero-emissions technology designed for freight-transport trucks is making its U.S. debut along an industrial strip in Carson, where testing is underway for future use at the ports.

The $13.5 million test system, called eHighway, connects trucks that have electric motors with an overhead system of electrified wires that guide them independently — reminiscent of a streetcar.

Unlike a trolley, however, it moves heavy-duty trucks on public roads without tracks.

Nov 02, 2017

L.A., Long Beach ports adopt plan to slash air pollution and go zero-emissions

Online Edition

The nation’s largest port complex approved a plan Thursday to slash air pollution by encouraging the phase-out of diesel trucks in favor of natural gas and, ultimately, zero-emissions trucks and cargo-handling equipment over the next two decades.

The Clean Air Action Plan, unanimously adopted at a joint meeting of Los Angeles and Long Beach harbor commissioners, provides a framework for transforming the massive hub for freight-moving trucks, trains and ships to cleaner technologies through 2035. But it leaves many details undetermined, including who will pay for up to $14 billion in cleaner trucks and equipment and which industries will benefit.

The plan is the most significant and expensive environmental initiative yet by the ports, which have sought to distinguish themselves from competitors over the last decade by pioneering air quality improvements, some of which have been replicated by other seaports and enshrined by California regulators.

Despite dramatic reductions in diesel emissions under the port’s 2006 clean-air plan, the Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex remains the largest single source of air pollution in Southern California, with progress tapering off in recent years.

State and local air quality regulators say attacking the ports’ overwhelmingly diesel-fueled operations is crucial to cleaning the nation’s worst smog to meet federal health standards, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and easing asthma, lung cancer and other pollution-triggered health problems from harbor-area communities to the Inland Empire.

Port officials said the plan seeks to accelerate pollution reductions while remaining sensitive to the economic effects of transforming the complex, which handles about 40% of U.S. imports and support hundreds of thousands of jobs across Southern California. Though the volume of shipments moving through the L.A.-Long Beach ports has tripled since the mid-1990s, they face increasing competition from East and Gulf Coast ports, which have less stringent environmental mandates.

By adopting the plan, the ports are expecting businesses and taxpayers to foot the bill. They are also sending a signal to manufacturers that there will be demand for cleaner trucks and freight-moving equipment, and, eventually, models with no tailpipe emissions.

Another question is how quickly the ports’ strategies will cut emissions and whether they will satisfy the demands of state and local regulators, who are increasingly targeting port pollution to reduce health risks and smog in time to meet federal deadlines.

While the plan outlines goals to slash greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050, it lacks new targets for reducing smog-forming emissions.

Key to the plan is a new Clean Trucks Program that uses fees on trucks entering port terminals and other mandates to phase out the oldest, dirtiest diesel trucks, transition to cleaner natural gas models, and ultimately switch to electric and other zero-emissions technologies.

Projections show most of the 17,000 trucks serving the ports becoming near-zero, or natural gas-fueled, by 2024. Zero-emissions trucks would become the majority by 2036.

Among other provisions, the plan requires that terminal operators begin deploying zero-emission cargo-handling equipment in 2020 with a goal of making a full transition by 2030. It also calls for expanding the use of emissions-capturing devices to reduce pollution from docked cargo ships.

Before casting votes, commissioners heard from environmentalists, community groups and elected officials, some holding their asthma inhalers, who expressed disappointment. They said the plan does not go far enough to mandate the cleanest technologies and to ease the pollution-triggered illnesses suffered by residents in the shadow of the ports.

Urging accelerated deployment of near-zero-emissions trucks was the natural gas industry, which in the short term is expected to reap the benefits of the rollout of such technologies.

Commissioners also heard from Tesla Motors Inc. and other manufacturers that said heavy-duty electric trucks would be commercially viable sooner than expected.

Some environmental groups criticized the plan as a windfall to the natural gas industry and said it lacks clear milestones to force the adoption of zero-emissions trucks.

“It’s not a path to zero-emission trucks. It’s a natural gas plan,” said Morgan Wyenn, an attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “And it’s a very expensive distraction from where we need to go.”

Port officials defended the plan as a balance between near- and long-term goals, and between economic and health concerns. They called it a “technology neutral” plan that doesn’t mandate any fuel in particular, but leaves it to industry to decide how to comply.

Business groups, cargo-moving industries and truckers have criticized the estimated price tag of up to $14 billion, which they say could cause more shippers to divert cargo to other ports.

John McLaurin, president of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Assn., told commissioners he fears the cost “and its potential negative impacts on port competitiveness and the one in nine jobs in the Southern California region that are reliant on the ports.”

The projected price dwarfs the nearly $2 billion in public and private funds spent implementing the 2006 clean-air plan. That has stoked worries among truckers that they will shoulder the cost of expensive, and perhaps less reliable, natural gas-fueled rigs, then battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell models.

The plan includes assurances that “it should not fall solely on the drivers to fund the transition to a new truck fleet to serve the ports.” But labor and community groups said it lacks sufficient safeguards for drivers.

Mayor Eric Garcetti suggested that expected advances in technology will create a market for electric vehicles that will eventually reach a “tipping point,” even without firm benchmarks by the ports.

“We will get to zero emissions, make no mistake,” Garcetti said.

Garcetti urged regulators to secure the funds needed to make that transition and expressed confidence in officials “to hold our feet to the fire and to implement this the right way.”

Online Edition

The nation’s largest port complex approved a plan Thursday to slash air pollution by encouraging the phase-out of diesel trucks in favor of natural gas and, ultimately, zero-emissions trucks and cargo-handling equipment over the next two decades.

Oct 28, 2017

LA, Long Beach port security concerns prompt congressional hearing

Online Edition

Security concerns at the nation’s ports, heightened by a security breach and a cyberattack this year at the Port of Los Angeles, will be the focus of a hearing by a congressional committee Monday in San Pedro.

Members of the House Committee on Homeland Security will take testimony from officials of the L.A. and Long Beach ports, the Trump administration and longshore union starting at 1 p.m. at the Port of L.A. Harbor Administration Building. No public comment is scheduled.

The panel, which is chaired by Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, and includes California Reps. Nanette Barragan, D-Carson, and Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, is holding the rare on-site hearing to examine what the U.S. government and the maritime industry are doing to keep ports safe.

The committee says U.S. seaports account for 26 percent of the nation’s economic activity, raising fears that an attack could both endanger the public and disrupt the economy.

“This is an exciting opportunity to host my colleagues from both sides of the aisle,” Barragan said, “so they can see first-hand the successes and challenges of securing the nation’s busiest container port.

“The cargo that goes through the Port of L.A. touches every congressional district. $272 billion worth of commerce flows through the (L.A.) port each year. The entire national economy relies on it being safe and secure. That’s why this field hearing is so important.”

In June, a cyberattack against the Danish shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk forced the Port of L.A.’s largest terminal to close for three days  In August, a man driving a stolen vehicle blew past security gates at the Port of L.A., climbed a 120-foot crane and stripped off his clothes before falling to his death, an incident that prompted port officials to announce tightened security.

Online Edition

Security concerns at the nation’s ports, heightened by a security breach and a cyberattack this year at the Port of Los Angeles, will be the focus of a hearing by a congressional committee Monday in San Pedro.

Members of the House Committee on Homeland Security will take testimony from officials of the L.A. and Long Beach ports, the Trump administration and longshore union starting at 1 p.m. at the Port of L.A. Harbor Administration Building. No public comment is scheduled.

Oct 29, 2017

How local port officials plan to spend billions to cut pollution

Online Edition

A major – and likely expensive – plan to reduce air pollution around the country’s two busiest container ports may soon be approved by those who govern each port.

Commissioners in charge of setting policy for the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are scheduled to assemble for a special joint meeting on Thursday. Their task is decide whether to approve the 2017 Clean Air Action Plan Update, which is a proposed update to an 11-year-old plan that port officials describe as being highly-effective in terms of curbing air pollution around the local harbor.

The proposals run parallel to an existing promise to replace diesel and natural gas burning trucks and equipment with zero-emissions technology by 2035. That kind of equipment is not presently available on a large-scale, commercial basis, which concerns industry types who are worried about having to pay for as-yet unproven strategies.

“As the next CAAP is implemented, it will take open, honest and collaborative dialogue by all parties to address the feasibility of zero-emission cargo-handling equipment and to examine the ports ability to compete with other North American trade gateways,” Pacific Merchant Shipping Association president John McLaurin said in a statement.

McLaurin’s group represents shipping companies and terminal operators. The leader of a local trucking industry group expressed similar concerns.

“Pilot programs and feasibility studies will be key to the success of any transition to new technology. Industry should be the ones that decide what technologies are and are not viable,” Weston LaBar, executive director of the Harbor Trucking Association said in an email.

A representative of a Southern California environmental group, however, does not think the plan goes far enough.

“Saddling our communities with natural gas or combustion-based fuels will further perpetuate the environmental injustice impacts from the Ports that not only harbor area residents experience but the folks places like the Inland Empire and other areas that are riddled with natural gas storage tanks, fueling stations, and other infrastructure,” Taylor Thomas, research and policy analyst for East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice, said in an email.

Rick Cameron, the Port of Long Beach’s managing director of planning and environmental affairs, said port officials have worked hard in an attempt to balance industry interests with the health interests of people living near the ports or trade corridors, such as the 710 Freeway.

“That’s a lot to put on the shoulders when you talk about one plan,” he said.

Cameron said port administrators won’t force anyone too buy technology that doesn’t hold up to work requirements, is cost prohibitive or simply doesn’t exist. The idea, he said, is for port leaders to treat the plan as a living document, with additional decisions related to such issues as the feasibility of various technologies to come in the future.

“This isn’t a one-time deal,” he said.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. Thursday at Crowne Plaza Los Angeles Harbor Hotel, 601 S. Palos Verdes St., San Pedro.

What Are the Costs?

Officials from the twin ports estimate $7 to $14 billion in new costs.

What May be Gained?

Port officials want to continue improvements in local air quality, which could reduce the risks that people living around Long Beach, San Pedro, Wilmington and other places may contract pollution-related diseases such as asthma or cancer. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is another plan objective.

What Are the Risks?

Port officials acknowledge that some of the technology required to implement the plan, such as zero-emission big rigs, are not yet commercially available, although the plan’s authors also express confidence in ongoing attempts to invent viable, clean technology. Industry advocates like McLaurin and LeBar have expressed worry that new costs may result in cargo being diverted to other ports, or that future technology may not be reliable.

What are the Strategies?

The draft plan seeks reduce pollution through such means as accelerating the trucking industry’s adoption of recently-built trucks and near-zero or zero-emissions technologies, assuming they become available.

The document also calls for port officials to lobby for stricter environmental regulations at the national level, to finance technology demonstration programs around Los Angeles’ and Long Beach’s docks, and to employ public subsidies for purchases of environmentally-friendly technology.

What Are Some Specific Requirements?

Any new drayage trucks (rigs employed to haul containers between port facilities and distribution centers) that enter service at either port next year must be no older than a 2014 model year vehicle

As of 2020, the ports will charge fees to all trucks that do not meet state government’s near-zero emissions standard. By 2035, only zero emissions trucks will be exempt from the charge

As of 2020, terminal operators must ensure all newly-acquired equipment is zero- or near zero-emissions technology, if possible

Beginning in 2025, vessel operators would have to pay a fee when docking older model vessels at either port.

What Has Already Happened?

The twin ports adopted the Clean Air Action Plan in 2006, later modified in 2010, which at the time of its release was reported to be an unprecedented attempt to reduce pollution around a large U.S. seaport.

The original plan preceded the ports’ implementation of the Clean Trucks Program, which mandated trucking companies’ replacements of older, more polluting big rigs.

Among other regulators’ actions, the California Air Resources Board implemented a rule that went into effect in 2014 requiring vessel operators to plug into shore-based electricity sources, or use agency-approved emissions capture technology, while at berth. The rule is intended to stop ships from spewing pollution when burning their own fuel to produce electricity.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia announced in July that their respective administration’s are demanding zero-emissions vehicles at the ports in 2035.

Have existing plans worked?

Port officials report the answer is yes. Data included in the draft plan shows diesel particulate emissions around San Pedro Bay have declined 87 percent since 2005. Reported levels of nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides have, respectively, have fallen 56 and 97 percent.

Online Edition

A major – and likely expensive – plan to reduce air pollution around the country’s two busiest container ports may soon be approved by those who govern each port.

Oct 30, 2017

House reps: Shore up security funding at LA, Long Beach ports

Online Edition

At a rare on-site hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee at the Port of L.A., members of the panel and other Southern California representatives sounded generally pleased with what they heard. Officials from the two local ports, the Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection and the longshore union testified about what has been done to protect the facilities in the wake of two security scares earlier this year.

But the testimony also seemed to strengthen most of the House members’ determination to push for more funding for port security. The Trump administration’s initial budget proposal last spring threatened to trim port security funding. Democrats oppose shifting budget priorities toward the Mexican border wall proposed by President Trump.

“The people we talked to today are getting it right, but more training and resources are needed,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the committee’s ranking Democrat.

The border wall was mentioned only once — by Thompson — in the more than 90-minute hearing, perhaps because there is no direct tradeoff between funding for the wall and port security measures.

But Rep. Nanette Barragan, D-Carson, whose district includes the Port of L.A., said the issue of the wall looms over the matter of port security.

“These are conflicting interests,” Barragan said in an interview after the hearing. “We can’t put money toward the border wall without taking it away from something else.

“I believe that [the wall] would be a waste of money, and we should put more priority into airport and seaport security.”

The call for more federal funding for port security wasn’t unanimous, though.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Huntington Beach, whose district used to include the Port of Long Beach area, said stepped-up port security should be paid for not by the government but by the companies that profit from safer seaborne commerce. Rohrabacher also said government “overreach” could get in the way more than it protects the maritime industry.

The hearing in San Pedro came at the urging of Barragan, who said the visit was important to raise awareness of port security issues — even among members of the Homeland Security Committee, not all of whom had heard of a security breach that made headlines in August.

This was the incident in which a man in a stolen vehicle being pursued by police blew past security gates at the Port of L.A., climbed a 120-foot crane and stripped off his clothes before falling or jumping to his death.

The second scare that promoted Monday’s hearing was the June cyberattack against the Danish shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk that forced the Port of L.A.’s largest terminal to close for three days.

Eugene Seroka, executive director of the Port of L.A., said the port has fortified gate security and changed cargo-entry paths since the crane incident.

Seroka told the panel the Maersk cyberattack was “a call to action for all of us.” Noting that the port had been the first, back in 2014, to have its own cybersecurity complex, Seroka said more could be done to monitor internet activities affecting the entirety of the nation’s busiest container port.

“This was not a direct attack on the Port of L.A. — but the next time it could be,” committee chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, told Seroka, who agreed.

Officials called attention to old and new threats.

Rear Admiral Todd A. Sokalzuk, commander of the Eleventh Coast Guard District, noted the problem of aging cutters.

Mario Cordero, executive director of the Long Beach Port, called for restrictions on unmanned aerial vehicles —  drones —  in port areas. Carlos Martel, director of L.A. field operations for Customs and Border Protection, said the possibility of explosives on private pleasure craft remains a hard-to-monitor threat.

Barragan asked if CBP staffing was sufficient.

No, said Ray Familathe, vice president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, contending that having security scans unavailable on weekends leaves workers unable to process cargo.

Online Edition

At a rare on-site hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee at the Port of L.A., members of the panel and other Southern California representatives sounded generally pleased with what they heard. Officials from the two local ports, the Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection and the longshore union testified about what has been done to protect the facilities in the wake of two security scares earlier this year.

Oct 31, 2017

Cleaner air doesn’t have to risk jobs at our local ports

Online Edition

California leads the world in progressive environmental policies aimed at lowering carbon emissions. Who is more environmentally friendly than California? But another area where California is a leader is in unemployment; it ranks in the top-10 for highest unemployment rate in the nation (tied for seventh place). To bring it home, the Los Angeles metropolitan area unemployment rate is at 5.1 percent and the national average is 4.2 percent.

It is in this abysmal economic setting that, on Nov. 2, the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports will jointly be voting on the final draft of the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan proposal set by the mayors and ports of both cities to further reduce air emissions. On the surface the plan’s aggressive goal sounds like a good idea: make the Southland a cleaner, more comfortable place in which to live. The problem is that these regulations, in their current proposal, go way too far and will not achieve the desired outcome.

Los Angeles boasts of being America’s No. 1 port, and Long Beach isn’t that far behind, but it’s a title that won’t last long. While the ports have seen steady growth in the last 10 years, when you compare them to other ports, they fail miserably. Many of the other ports have seen 20 percent to 150 percent more growth than our own San Pedro Bay Ports. For the most part, our growth has been stagnant, and with increasing competitiveness across the country and across the globe, we cannot implement more regulations that kill jobs and industry for our region. The Los Angeles region and the state are losing out to more competitive states and countries.

Since the 2006 CAAP plan was enacted, we have seen a 96 percent drop in diesel particulate matter from cargo equipment and heavy duty trucks — which is no small feat. Thanks to the original CAAP, we saw a drastic reduction in emissions, but these cuts didn’t come without major consequences, and the new plan will cut even deeper. In order to reduce the last 4 percent of emissions of the 96 percent reduction we have already seen, the CAAP estimates that it will cost $14 billion — and to make matters worse, it assumes that the port will be using technology that does not yet exist.

While we in the Southland should always support innovation and continue to back worthy pursuits like investment in technology that makes our air cleaner, Los Angeles cannot afford the hefty price we’d have to pay to achieve the milestones of the CAAP, as currently proposed. The Los Angeles and Long Beach ports should adopt the following two guidelines:

First, a competitiveness action plan. It is essential that our ports remain competitive with shippers for our economy. The ports should do a cost effectiveness study to make sure that not only will we reach our goals, but they are economically feasible. Having clean air and competitive ports are not mutually exclusive — in fact they go hand in hand to ensure good jobs, low prices and clean air for us all.

Secondly, a cost effectiveness study. The “Economic and Workforce Considerations for the Clean Air Action Plan Update” estimates it will be three to five times more expensive for the industry to implement this plan than previous efforts. Specifically, the CAAP estimates it will cost up to $14 billion and seeks to implement some zero-emission equipment that is still in development. The port should evaluate the incremental cost effectiveness in dollar/ton of emissions removed between near zero and zero emission technologies and include the replacement costs to meet requirements vs. life cycle for technologies. The ports should also coordinate with the South Coast Air Quality Management District to ensure that both public and private financial investments are prioritized in a manner that will achieve the most emission-reduction benefits for the South Coast Basin.

If the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports simply make these amendments to the plan, Angelenos won’t have to pay for clean air at the expense of families missing rent. We want the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports to become the model for innovation, not the model for recession. The voting members need to seriously consider the 900,000 bread-winners’ jobs here in Southern California and do the right thing by amending the current CAAP proposal. The Southland can be both an economic powerhouse as well as an environmental leader in emission reductions and sustainability.

Online Edition

California leads the world in progressive environmental policies aimed at lowering carbon emissions. Who is more environmentally friendly than California? But another area where California is a leader is in unemployment; it ranks in the top-10 for highest unemployment rate in the nation (tied for seventh place). To bring it home, the Los Angeles metropolitan area unemployment rate is at 5.1 percent and the national average is 4.2 percent.

Nov 01, 2017

Local kids and families need cleaner air now

Online Edition

The cities of southeast Los Angeles County are key drivers of the Southern California economy. Our proximity to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the Long Beach (710) Freeway and rail lines means our region is an industrialized hub that literally keeps the rest of the country moving. This is a tremendous source of pride for the men, women and families who live in our cities.

When we see trucks carrying cargo to and from the port, we see good-paying, middle class jobs for those who work at the ports, nearby warehouses and throughout the logistics supply chain. But we also know that all of this economic activity comes at a cost to the health of the children and families we are elected to represent.

The health implications of living near a freeway are well documented. Our children are more likely to have asthma and other breathing problems. There are elevated risks of heart disease and cancer. These are real problems that impact our constituents. And they are why we are demanding action.

This week, the Harbor Commissions of Los Angeles and Long Beach will vote on the Clean Air Action Plan, a document that outlines how to reduce air pollution related to the country’s largest port complex. The heavy-duty trucks that transport containers between the ports, freight lines and warehouses are a critical piece of the CAAP.

Under the proposed CAAP, diesel trucks could continue to service the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach until 2035. That means a child born today would be a freshman in college before he or she breathes cleaner air. The reality is there’s no reason to wait.

Today in Southern California, most transit agencies have already switched their buses from diesel to natural gas engines. And many agencies are replacing their fleets with engines that are 90 percent cleaner than compressed natural gas engines. The technology is advancing so quickly that by the end of the year, these vehicles will be cleaner than electric vehicles – putting fewer pollutants and greenhouse gases into the air.

Leaders at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have heard our concerns. Under the CAAP, beginning in 2020, all heavy-duty trucks would be charged a fee to enter the ports’ terminals unless they are certified to meet a standard of near-zero emissions.

We look forward to seeing clean trucks that run on renewable fuel. And the communities around the ports do, too. In a recent poll conducted by the respected polling firm FM3 on behalf of the Advanced Clean Trucks Now coalition, strong majorities supported clean trucks, supported their deployment now, and even supported financial incentives to get these trucks on the road. These polling results tell us that port communities specifically want to encourage greater pollution reduction through the rapid deployment of near-zero emission vehicles.

In order for the CAAP to be successful, we urge port officials to adopt the California Air Resources Board’s Optional Low NOx Standard of 0.02 g/bhp-hr as their own standard for trucks to be exempted from the 2020 fee. Roughly 90 percent of older trucks were replaced within three years when the previous Clean Trucks Program imposed a fee. Setting CARB’s Low NOx standard as the threshold could result in faster adoption of near-zero technology and would allow non-petroleum and renewable fuel vehicles to operate at the ports and assist in meeting the state’s petroleum reduction goals, renewable energy goals, and clean air and climate goals.

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have a long track record of environmental stewardship. We applaud port officials for their commitment to making Southern California a cleaner and healthier environment, and we will be watching to make sure they continue to move as aggressively as they can to put cleaner trucks on our roadways.

Online Edition

The cities of southeast Los Angeles County are key drivers of the Southern California economy. Our proximity to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the Long Beach (710) Freeway and rail lines means our region is an industrialized hub that literally keeps the rest of the country moving. This is a tremendous source of pride for the men, women and families who live in our cities.

Nov 02, 2017

Los Angeles, Long Beach port officials adopt new clean air plan

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A long-range plan designed to reduce air pollution around the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach that could cost up to $14 billion is now official policy.

Harbor commissioners for Los Angeles and Long Beach voted Thursday to adopt the 2017 Clean Air Action Plan Update. The vote took place during a special meeting conducted at the Crowne Plaza Los Angeles Harbor Hotel, and commissioners voted unanimously to support the new plan, according to announcements from both port organizations.

“These new policies and strategies are some of the most progressive air quality rules in the nation,” Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said in a statement. “We are serious about fighting climate change, protecting local residents, and promoting economic success at our ports.”

Much of the plan, estimated to cost $7 billion to $14 billion over many years, involves shifting the cargo handling and trucking industries away from fossil fuels and toward near-zero and zero-emissions technologies. The plan also anticipates that cleaner engines will power future container ships.

Harbor officials’ adoption of the plan follows the joint declaration Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Garcia made in June in favor of having zero-emissions cargo handling technology at the twin ports in 2030. The mayors have also announced their intent for zero-emissions trucks to carry freight between the ports and Southern California distribution centers in 2035.

Although that’s a timeline that stretches over the course of nearly two decades, the plan’s authors observed in the document that considerable investments will be required over the coming five to seven years to make sure anyone driving a near-zero or zero emissions vehicle has access to the necessary fuel or electricity.

The plan also requires that from 2020 on, terminal operators’ acquisitions of cargo handling equipment brings zero-emissions machines to the ports, assuming such equipment can be purchased. The new policy also establishes a fee structure intended to promote trucking companies’ switch to cleaner rigs.

A similar mechanism intended to give shipping companies an incentive to bring cleaner vessels to local docks is scheduled to begin in 2025.

The now-official policy further calls upon the leaders of local ports to advocate for stricter environmental regulations, to support technology demonstration programs in Los Angeles and Long Beach, for public financing for clean technology research and for grants for companies doing business at the ports.

Commissioners cast their votes Thursday after conducting a lengthy public comment period during which environmentalists and others contended the new policy does not go far enough to promote zero-emissions equipment. Commissioners also heard from truckers who expressed worry that the costs of switching to cleaner trucks may fall upon individual drivers.

Many truckers own or lease their vehicles, and parallel to the long-running argument over whether drivers should be classified as independent contractors or trucking firms’ employees, the plan has aroused worry that working-class drivers may bear the burdens of adopting cleaner, but more expensive, rigs.

The plan’s authors have acknowledged that zero-emissions technology contemplated for future adoption is not yet commercially available. Business interests have expressed worry over projected costs and whether hoped-for technologies will eventually prove to be reliable.

“As the CAAP is implemented, it will take open, honest and collaborative dialogue by all parties to address the feasibility of zero-emission cargo-handling equipment and to examine the ports ability to compete with other North American trade gateways,” Pacific Merchant Shipping Association president John McLaurin said in a statement.

The ports adopted their inaugural Clean Air Action Plan in 2006. That plan included the Clean Trucks Program, which banned old rigs from the ports in an effort to curb air emissions.

Port officials report a substantial reduction in air pollution since the time before the first Clean Air Action Plan Went into effect. Since 2005, diesel particulate emissions around San Pedro Bay are down 87 percent.

Nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides have, respectively, fallen 56 and 97 percent since 2005, according to the ports.

Online Edition

A long-range plan designed to reduce air pollution around the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach that could cost up to $14 billion is now official policy.

Harbor commissioners for Los Angeles and Long Beach voted Thursday to adopt the 2017 Clean Air Action Plan Update. The vote took place during a special meeting conducted at the Crowne Plaza Los Angeles Harbor Hotel, and commissioners voted unanimously to support the new plan, according to announcements from both port organizations.

Oct 27, 2016

IMO Sets Regulations to Cut SOx Emissions from 2020

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The United Nations' shipping agency on Thursday set global regulations to limit the amount of sulphur emissions from vessels which will come into force from 2020.

A session of the International Maritime Organization's Marine Environment Protection Committee in London set the new regulations, which will see sulphur emissions fall from the current maximum of 3.5 percent of fuel content to 0.5 percent,

The shipping industry is by far the world's biggest emitter of sulphur, with the sulphur oxide content in heavy fuel oil up to 3,500 times higher than the latest European diesel standards for vehicles.

Online Edition

The United Nations' shipping agency on Thursday set global regulations to limit the amount of sulphur emissions from vessels which will come into force from 2020.

A session of the International Maritime Organization's Marine Environment Protection Committee in London set the new regulations, which will see sulphur emissions fall from the current maximum of 3.5 percent of fuel content to 0.5 percent,