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Dec 01, 2017

Single Ship Record at los Angeles

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Not one of the worlds largest container ships, Maersk Lines' 13,492-TEU Maersk Evora nevertheless set a new container handling record at the port of Los Angeles in October when it discharged 24,846 TEUs, a new world record for a single vessel port call. All of the boxes were handled at APM Terminals' Pie 400 between October 18 and October 22, with the 366-meter vessel then proceeding on to Yokohoma, Japan.

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Not one of the worlds largest container ships, Maersk Lines' 13,492-TEU Maersk Evora nevertheless set a new container handling record at the port of Los Angeles in October when it discharged 24,846 TEUs, a new world record for a single vessel port call. All of the boxes were handled at APM Terminals' Pie 400 between October 18 and October 22, with the 366-meter vessel then proceeding on to Yokohoma, Japan.

Dec 23, 2016

With freight rail industry, competition is good

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A dozen or so harbor seals sun themselves on a bank of rocks on a bright autumn day. Others dive into the shallow waters nearby, looking for fish. Tufts of kelp flap above the water line, dancing with the harbor’s low current.

The scene? It isn’t the rocky coastline, far from mankind. This idyllic nature scene is just beyond Los Angeles’ outer port harbor, the nation’s busiest container port. Just around the bend, every year massive cargo ships unload $270 billion worth of goods into a vast industrial stretch built to handle the needs of the United States’ voracious consumer markets.

Once inhospitable to sea life, the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports have slowly wooed marine life to return, thanks to decades of tough environmental regulations.

“We see healthy communities,” said Kat Pricket, a biologist at the Port of Los Angeles. “We see improving communities.”

The ports’ 2013-14 survey of biodiversity shows how far they have come from decades ago, when canneries regularly dumped waste into the waters and ship mechanics toiled on engines not far from the docks.

“We are seeing fewer invasive species, higher number of biodiversity and we have seen more marine mammals,” said Justin Luedy, a biologist at the Port of Long Beach. “We see our water quality has improved, there’s lower metals and higher oxygen — those things that sustain life.”

While the outer harbor has been a refuge for sea life for years now, the dirtiest waters in the port along the inner harbor are getting cleaner.

For example: One of the report’s key findings measures the frequency of bottom-dwelling species, such as worms.

In 2008, the most common bottom-dwelling organism in the port could not tolerate the heavily polluted waters. But in the latest survey, carried out by Costa Mesa-based environmental consultants MBC Applied Environmental, scientists found a surprisingly abundant species of worm, the amphideutopus oculatus. It cannot thrive in heavy pollution.

“This discovery is a first for the harbor,” Luedy said. “It means that our water quality is improving. The health of the ecosystem is improving as well.”

So-called pollution-sensitive species made up six of the 10 most commonly found bottom-dwelling organisms found by scientists during the survey.

In all, there were more than 264 clams, snails, worms and other types of species found, along with 96 types of birds.

Both ports have attempted to foster this abundance by creating habitat for fish and other marine organisms in shallow waters and along the coastline. The survey provides clear evidence that those efforts have begun to yield results.

But there’s still work to be done. “Everything isn’t roses,” Pricket said.

“The biggest challenge now is runoff from storm drains,” said Dan Podella, director of the Southern California Marine Institute.

There are hundreds of storm drain outlets that lead into the harbor. After it rains, brake-pad dust, oil and other toxins slip out into the harbor and foul the water.

Accidental spills also are a problem. In March, two oil spills in the ports’ inner harbor blackened the waters, covered birds in goo and served as another reminder of how quickly the ports’ gains can be reversed.

Work to clean the water isn’t new. The federal Clean Water Act in 1972 signaled the beginning of decades of efforts. At the ports, a crackdown on seamen washing vessels in the harbor helped to prevent toxic chemicals from spilling into the harbors, Luedy said.

But the biggest improvements came from tougher state and local regulations on storm runoff.

“A lot of effort has been put into cleaning things up. All those things have slowly worked,” said Chris Lowe, director of Cal State Long Beach’s Shark Lab. “I have seen fish in the harbor that I would never think I would see.”

Lowe knows the harbor well. He’s visited it for more than 30 years, first as a young biologist, now as a professor and researcher.

The clearer waters have even attracted baby white sharks that take laps through the harbor, Lowe said.

Cleaner waters, Lowe said, mean more food to sustain such life.

“I am finally excited to see us make so much progress,” he said.

And it’s all around. Scientists documented an explosion of eel grass and 132 acres of kelp. In 2008, biologists counted only 80 acres of kelp.

Seals munch on kelp, just as they were probably doing on that autumn day as they dove beneath the waters where massive vessels pass.

“The main challenge will be maintaining this,” Luedy said, “and getting better water quality as we grow.”

 

 

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A dozen or so harbor seals sun themselves on a bank of rocks on a bright autumn day. Others dive into the shallow waters nearby, looking for fish. Tufts of kelp flap above the water line, dancing with the harbor’s low current.

Aug 01, 2016

oakland Coal Exports Blocked

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In a controversial move the Oakland City Council has voted to ban the handling and storage of coal and coke at the city’s marine handling facilities, including the proposed Oakland Global facility that would be managed by Terminal Logistics Solutions and financed by the California Capital and Investment Group. Both parties had expected to handle drybulk commodities at the terminal, to include coal and coke that would have come from mines in Utah, with that state agreeing to invest $53 million in the project for the right to export its products through California.

 

Backers of the bulk facility have since warned that there may be legal consequences from the Council’s decision, which follows an earlier decision by the Army Corps of Engineers to deny a permit for coal terminal construction at Cherry Point, Washington on the grounds that it would endanger local wildlife.

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May 16, 2016

Lawmakers pressure Port Authority to cut back on pollution

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Lawmakers pressure Port Authority to cut back on pollution | New York's PIX11 / WPIX-TV

NEWARK, N.J. — Children in Newark and Elizabeth are struggling to breathe and the air pollution is making their problems worse.

Tiyonn Bowers, 9, enjoys indoor school activities, like art or the library. He said outdoor activities make him sick and has been hospitalized and missed school because of this before.

“I don’t go outside that much,” he said.

Bowers suffers from asthma and carries a pump with him. His mother signed him up for a study that also required him to carry an air quality monitor on his waist for months.

“I prefer him not to be out there,” Tamika Bowers said.

She changed the filter on her son’s monitor daily and was shocked to see the results.

“It’s very dirty,” Bowers said.

The Bowers are among dozens participating in research by Rutgers and the Ironbound Community Corporation. They’ve partnered to study the impact of traffic pollution on asthmatic kids living in cities. The Ironbound section of Newark backs up to the ports, truck stops and trucking companies. Some kids participating in the study have repeatedly missed school because they can't go outdoors, or have been hospitalized.

According to the EPA, one in four children in Newark have asthma.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has studied air quality around the ports and found an increase in cancer risk.

Lawmakers point to trucks that do business at the ports, as a source of pollution in the community.

The Ironbound Community Corporation counted over 2,000 trucks passing schools or playgrounds within 2 hours in the Ironbound section of Newark. A spokesman pointed to a study paid for by the Port Authority that found that only 5 percent of trucks that pass through the Ironbound are port-related.

Lawmakers apparently disagree.

New Jersey State Senator Ray Lesniak introduced a bill Monday that would force trucks doing business at the ports to cut down on their emissions.

New Jersey Senators Bob Menendez, Cory Booker and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand wrote a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency last week, calling for action.

"These low-income and minority communities are disproportionately exposed to high levels of air pollution resulting in serious health problems,” said the Senators letter. “Fortunately, there are proven technologies that can allow the port community to reduce and eventually eliminate diesel emissions."

Earlier this year, the Port Authority reversed its decision to retrofit or replace polluting trucks. Instead, they pledged $1.2 million to supplant 400 trucks. But critics argue that it is a pittance when compared to the amount of money the Port Authority invests in capital projects, such as upgrades to the Bayonne Bridge or LaGuardia Airport. The Port Authority will spend over $27.6 billion by 2023 on more than 500 capital projects.

“To call it an injustice doesn’t seem to give it enough weight. You really are taking away people’s right to breathe clean air,” Molly Greenberg, the Environmental Justice Policy Manager for Ironbound Community Corporation, said. “They have enough money on their own to do a lot of different repairs that benefit them."

A spokesman for the Port Authority said they have reduced port pollutants by 41.5 percent since 2006 and have invested $600 million in environmentally friendly rail facilities.

"We are firmly committed to continuing to work with the EPA and other regulators in the region to further reduce emissions from the port,” said the statement. "We applaud efforts to take a national holistic look at this issue and are open to federal regulation that would create uniform standards for port facilities across the country.”

Online Edition

Lawmakers pressure Port Authority to cut back on pollution | New York's PIX11 / WPIX-TV

NEWARK, N.J. — Children in Newark and Elizabeth are struggling to breathe and the air pollution is making their problems worse.

Tiyonn Bowers, 9, enjoys indoor school activities, like art or the library. He said outdoor activities make him sick and has been hospitalized and missed school because of this before.

“I don’t go outside that much,” he said.

Apr 06, 2017

West Oakland Air Pollution Concerns Prompt Civil Rights Complaint

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OAKLAND (CBS SF) — A civil rights complaint filed this week on behalf of West Oakland residents alleges air pollution from diesel emissions at the Port of Oakland disproportionately impacts communities of color.

The residents, the complaint alleges, experience more asthma attacks, higher rates of heart failure and strokes, and can expect to live nine years less than other Californians due to reduced air quality near the Port of Oakland.

The complaint, filed under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, alleges that the City and Port of Oakland has caused “…West Oakland residents to suffer from diesel emissions that are up to 90 times higher than California’s average” and has led to West Oakland having one of the lowest life expectancies of all Oakland communities.

Environmental law firm, Earthjustice, filed the complaint on behalf of the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project on Tuesday, stating that the poor air quality surrounding the Port of Oakland and West Oakland, which remains primarily a community of color, is largely due to the City and Port’s “failure to require either a comprehensive truck management plan, or a meaningful emission reduction plan…”

This, the complaint alleges, creates an unjustified and disproportionate negative impact on the basis of race.

Title VI of Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits entities receiving federal financial assistance — such as the Port and City of Oakland — from engaging in activities that subject individuals to discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin.

Both the City and Port have “refused to mitigate the negative air quality and resulting health impacts…caused by the continued increase in truck traffic to and from the Port,” the complaint alleges.

Earthjustice notes that more truck traffic is expected as a result of a redevelopment project at the old Oakland Army Base and Oakland Global Logistics Center.

Port of Oakland communications director Mike Zampa said in a statement to CBS San Francisco Thursday that, “The Port understands the concerns of West Oakland residents…they’re our neighbors…we breathe the same air and we want it clean, too.”

But Zampa maintains that the Port has “worked with the community, transportation partners, shippers and regulators for years to develop programs that reduce the impact of global trade on the environment.”

The Port of Oakland, Zampa said, is one of the cleanest-operating ports, with diesel emissions down 98 percent since 2005 and ship emissions down 76 percent.

But Yana Garcia, an associate attorney with Earthjustice said, “The City and Port of Oakland have consistently ignored federal protections against discrimination, leading to toxic air and unhealthy burdens for West Oakland residents.”

Garcia said Oakland’s “discriminatory pattern continues to this day and is unacceptable.”

The complaint requests the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency investigate whether the City and Port have violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, and if so, that the City and Port withdraw its approval of the warehouse construction project at the old Oakland Army Base and analyze the full effects the development project will have on the environment and the health of the community.

A spokesperson for the Oakland City Attorney’s Office said they are not able to comment on lawsuits until they are served and have had time to review.

Online Edition

OAKLAND (CBS SF) — A civil rights complaint filed this week on behalf of West Oakland residents alleges air pollution from diesel emissions at the Port of Oakland disproportionately impacts communities of color.

The residents, the complaint alleges, experience more asthma attacks, higher rates of heart failure and strokes, and can expect to live nine years less than other Californians due to reduced air quality near the Port of Oakland.

Aug 16, 2017

LA FLEET WEEK® 2017 SCHEDULE OF EVENTS ANNOUNCED

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SAN PEDRO, Calif. - LA Fleet Week® 2017 returns to the LA Waterfront this Labor Day Weekend with a full line-up of entertainment, new attractions and friendly competitive events. With even more planned for the Monday holiday this year, the four-day event’s action-packed schedule has just been released at www.lafleetweek.com.

“This year’s LA Fleet Week has something for everyone to enjoy,” said Jonathan Williams, executive director of the LA Fleet Week Foundation. “We’ve also added many new attractions on the Labor Day holiday so that families can come to the LA Waterfront and make a full day of it.”

The San Pedro Historic Business District officially kicks off festivities Wednesday, Aug. 30 at 6 p.m. with a Hollywood-themed welcome party in downtown San Pedro. Free and open to the public, the party will celebrate the thousands of active service members from the visiting military ships arriving throughout the week.

In line with its mission to honor the nation’s military, this year’s LA Fleet Week will feature even more military equipment displays and demonstrations than last year’s inaugural event. There will also be a U.S. Bank Veterans Village, Sailor Bar on the Battleship IOWA, and aerial search-and-rescue demonstrations throughout the weekend. Free public tours of visiting military ships will take place daily, but available only on a limited, first-come, first-serve basis for those without previously booked online reservations.

New this year will be displays and booths highlighting first responders and emergency/disaster preparedness at the LA Fleet Week “Humanitarian Village.” Participants include the Los Angeles Emergency Management Division, Los Angeles Police Department, MySafeLA, and Team Rubicon USA, a disaster response veterans service organization. Returning by popular demand will also be the STEM Expo, an interactive and fun way to expose children of all ages to science, technology, engineering, and math.

A two-day rivalry basketball tournament between the City of Los Angeles and U.S. Military presented by Ariza Elevated Game Awards is slated for Saturday and Sunday, which is free and open to the public. For the Labor Day Monday holiday, organizers have added a full day of activities, starting first with the “Conquer the Bridge” race across the Vincent Thomas Bridge and a celebratory Victory breakfast for race participants. Later in the afternoon, a ‘Galley Wars’ culinary competition among cooks representing the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Marine Corps and Royal Canadian Navy, which is also free and open to the public. The cook-off judging panel includes celebrity chefs Robert Irvine, Mei Lin, and Steve Samson. After an evening of popular tribute bands, British rockers The Babys take the main stage to close out the four-day celebration.

Throughout the weekend, LA Fleet Week will also feature free performances by a variety of entertainers and musical acts, including the Bob Hope USO. Other evening headliners include rock band Quiet Riot, followed by Grammy award-winning Los Lobos on Friday. Saturday night’s concert will feature rocker Vince Neil, lead vocalist of Mötley Crüe, followed by a fireworks display presented by the Annenberg Foundation. Country rockers Shannon Rae and Brent Payne take the main stage on Sunday night.

LA Fleet Week is a U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Coast Guard tradition, in which active military ships recently deployed overseas dock in a variety of major cities for one week. In November 2015, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, U.S. Navy officials and the Port of Los Angeles announced that Los Angeles had been selected as an official Fleet Week market for the U.S. Navy.  Last year’s inaugural event drew more than 200,000 people.

LA Fleet Week major sponsors include American Airlines, Andeavor, The Annenberg Foundation, Bob Hope USO, Clyde & Company, Delta Airlines, East West Bank, F&M Bank, Liberty Creek Wines, NBCUniversal, UPS and US Bank.  Providing overall leadership and guidance for the event is the LA Fleet Week Leadership Council, comprised of community leaders in various sectors who are dedicated to supporting and advancing the mission of the annual LA Fleet Week event. 

In addition to the LA Fleet Week website where visitors can get event information and sign up for email updates, event developments are also being announced on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as @LAFleetWeek, or can be tracked on social media using #LAFleetWeek2017.

Online Edition

SAN PEDRO, Calif. - LA Fleet Week® 2017 returns to the LA Waterfront this Labor Day Weekend with a full line-up of entertainment, new attractions and friendly competitive events. With even more planned for the Monday holiday this year, the four-day event’s action-packed schedule has just been released at www.lafleetweek.com.

Oct 24, 2016

San Diego port one of three that assists foreign partners

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The Port of San Diego is one of three ports in the nation that has partnered with a branch of the U.S. Department of State to help enhance maritime security in countries around the world.  

From Karachi, Pakistan to Kingston, Jamaica, San Diego’s port and its police agency, the Harbor Police Department, are helping foreign ports to better harness existing capabilities, share strategies and improve collaboration.

“A lot of the partners (we) work with can’t afford to buy the latest inspection technology or the latest patrol boats, but strong inter-agency coordination is really a no-cost endeavor, and you can have really strong, positive impacts on port security in that country and maritime security more broadly,” said Scott Lueders, a public affairs officer for a branch of the State Department.

The effort is part of the State Department’s ongoing mission, spearheaded by its Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, to diminish the illegal drug trade and instability abroad. It’s also an opportunity for countries and for individual agencies to forge relationships with international partners.

San Diego is joined by the Port of Miami and the Port of Long Beach.  

San Diego became a partner in 2015 and several months in, a five-member group from the Port of Karachi visited the Port of San Diego. 

Karachi, dubbed the Gateway to Pakistan, handles a majority of the country’s cargo, including supplies headed toward the war in Afghanistan. 

“They were very interested in port security and what are the best practices we’re using here,” said Harbor police Chief Mark Stainbrook. “What we do, how we do it, and what the results are.”

Then in February, a small Harbor police crew spent two weeks in Jamaica, traveling to more than a dozen outposts. After their visit, the Jamaican force increased its drug seizures three fold. 

The State Department official said San Diego’s experiences with the team from Karachi and in Jamaica illustrate different goals of the agency’s partnerships. 

Training provided by San Diego’s port helped Jamaican officers make the best use of equipment provided by the State Department.

The partnership helped the country increase its seizure of cocaine from 360 kilograms in all of 2015, to 876 kilograms in the first half of 2016. That’s three times larger than any other seizure total for any six-month period in the last 15 years, Stainbrook said. 

Comparatively, the benefit of a visit from a foreign country, like Pakistan, is less quantifiable - but no less valuable, he said. 

“Having strong relationships with this entity that manages this entry point is really a win-win, not only for the Pakistanis, who get to see best practices at such a high-functioning port, but also U.S. personnel stationed in Pakistan and…the port of San Diego,” said Lueders, the public affairs officer.

“The CEO of the Port of San Diego now has the Karachi Port Trust chairman’s contact details,” he said.

Ports are reimbursed for any expenses incurred while working with foreign countries. Costs associated with these missions vary. A spokeswoman for the Port of San Diego said the trip to Jamaica cost about $21,800. 

The partnership is also a professional development opportunity for local officers. 

Harbor police Sgt. Donald Brick, who was on the three-person team that headed to Jamaica, said his crew didn’t put on a formal training. Rather, they drove around the island nation and met face-to-face with Jamaican officers at their substations. The U.S. group wanted a first-hand look at what resources were available to them and what their day-to-day operation looked like. 

What they saw was eye-opening. 

“At one substation, their headquarters was half of a Conex box dropped in the middle of a dirt lot several hundred yards from the water,” Brick said. “They didn’t have electricity, they had no computer, no internet.”

The Jamaican force had just recently received a number of boats from the State Department, so part of the Harbor police crew’s visit was focused on the upkeep of those vessels. They shared maintenance schedules, repair tips and helped compile a list of much-needed tools. 

They also went over patrol strategies including tips for what to look for when scouring for smugglers. After being visited by the Harbor police team, Jamaican police logged a record number of cocaine seizures. 

“I think it’s a combination of the training and information we gave them, plus the ability to do more patrols because they had better and functioning vessels,” Brick said.

The sergeant said his team benefited from the trip as well. 

“These guys are making next to nothing, they’re going out and risking their lives on a daily basis, and doing it with a smile and a real positive work ethic,” Brick said. “For me, I brought that back. We’re well paid and have the best equipment, but sometimes our attitudes could be better. It was a nice wake up call.” 

 

Online Edition

The Port of San Diego is one of three ports in the nation that has partnered with a branch of the U.S. Department of State to help enhance maritime security in countries around the world.  

From Karachi, Pakistan to Kingston, Jamaica, San Diego’s port and its police agency, the Harbor Police Department, are helping foreign ports to better harness existing capabilities, share strategies and improve collaboration.

Jul 01, 2016

Truck Replacement Program Scraps 200th Rig

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A Puget Sound incentive program that helps drayage truck owners purchase newer, lower-emission trucks to improve regional air quality recently replaced its 200th truck, the program announced in June 6.

 

The Seaport Truck Scrappage and Replacements for Air in Puget Sound 2 is a joint program of the Northwest Seaport Alliance and Puget Sound Clean Air Agency to reduce diesel particulate emissions in the region. ScRAPS 2 encourages owners to replace trucks with engines manufactured between 1994 and 2006 with newer models built to meet updated US Environmental Protection Agency standards.

 

The program reimburses eligible truck owners for part of the cost of a new truck and demolishes and recycles the older model at local vehicle recycling facilities. Truck owners who buy a truck with a model year 2010 engine or newer receive as much as $27,000 in return; a truck with a model 2007 to 2009 engine yields up to $20,000.

 

Launched in May 2014, the program was expanded earlier this month to make it easier to qualify for trucks primarily serving the NWSA’s South Harbor. Now 200 trips to either the North or South harbor qualify truck owners for the incentive program.

 

The program supports the SeaPort Alliance’s Clean Air Agency estimate that taking 200 older trucks off Puget Sound roads could result in an annual reduction of nine tons of diesel particulates and 114 tons of oxides of nitrogen.

 

The program, which says it has enough money to replace an additional 125 trucks is funded by a handful of federal agencies as well as the Washington State Department of Ecology and the Northwest Seaport Alliance, which is comprised of the ports of Seattle and Tacoma.

 

About 2,500 trucks visit Seattle and Tacoma marine terminals each day.

Print Edition

 

A Puget Sound incentive program that helps drayage truck owners purchase newer, lower-emission trucks to improve regional air quality recently replaced its 200th truck, the program announced in June 6.

 

May 20, 2016

Otto Self-Driving Truck Company Wants to Replace Teamsters

Otto Self-Driving Truck Company Wants to Replace Teamsters - IEEE Spectrum

 

Ottomotto, a newly unveiled startup formed by veterans of the Google car project, is planning to provide self-driving technology to today’s long-haul trucks.

 

It’s a logical first application. Semitrailers spend most of their time on highways, and highway driving is by far the easiest sort of driving to automate. So close is the industry to that goal that companies like Tesla and Daimler already feel the need to use buzzers and other tricks to prod drivers away from their daydreams when their hands are off the steering wheel for more than a few seconds.

 

Anthony Levandowski left the Google car project to start the company back in January, the Wall Street Journal reports. Lior Ron, who had been in charge of Google Maps, also joined, along with 39 others, including some from Tesla and Apple—both of which are also working on robocar technology.

 

Levandowski told the Journal that his company, which he calls Otto for short, wouldseek a competitive advantage by retrofitting existing trucks rather than putting self-driving systems into new ones. Otto, so far mostly a self-funded operation, is working with three Volvo trucks. 

 

Otto Self-Driving Truck Company Wants to Replace Teamsters - IEEE Spectrum

 

One big incentive for roboticizing the truck fleet is to stretch out the thin supply of long-haul drivers, which is 50,000 short of the mark in the United States, according to the American Trucking Associations. Strict rules require that drivers rest at set intervals, a problem that could be eased if drivers could lounge in the back of the cabin while the truck cruises the highway unattended.

 

Other firms are taking a different tack. For instance, Peloton Technology, of Mountain View, Calif., specializes in platooning, in which a lead truck driven by a professional driver leads a string of autonomous trucks behind it. Volvo, an investor in Peloton, has long been a pioneer of platooning, as it recently demonstrated with three convoys of two or three trucks each; the longest convoy trip was from Stockholm to Rotterdam.

 

Drivers had to be in all the trucks, and they had to attend to the road, as the laws still require. But even so, platooning saves time and money by allowing the trucks to stay in close formation, thus minimizing air resistance.

Otto Self-Driving Truck Company Wants to Replace Teamsters - IEEE Spectrum

Jul 19, 2017

LA, Long Beach ports will spend as much as $14 billion to clear air pollution

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Declaring it the largest environmental investment ever undertaken by a cargo complex to wean itself off diesel dependency, Los Angeles and Long Beach port officials today unveiled their Clean Air Action Plan update – with a price tag that could reach $14 billion.

The latest installment in a decade-long effort to reduce pollution along the docks – which has already drastically reduced the toxic soup around the mammoth complex – aims to replace dirty-burning trucks and cargo-handling equipment with gear that produces zero, or almost zero, emissions.

Officials didn’t soft-sell the price, acknowledging that it will place “an enormous financial burden on the ports and goods-movement industry,” even if government helps foot the bill.

CAAP is the heart of the joint vow made by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia to make the nation’s busiest port complex a nearly no-pollutant zone by 2035.

If the promise is kept, the project will eliminate the region’s largest stationary source of pollution. Diesel emissions have been linked to higher rates of asthma and respiratory problems in communities around the ports – and Gov. Jerry Brown has staked his legacy on fighting climate control in the state.

Here’s how the long-awaited plan aims to work:

The strategy at a glance

  • The bottom line: CAAP would convert the port’s huge truck fleet from diesel to zero-emission fuels, develop and deploy green-burning gear to load and unload ships and assertively grow pollution-cutting programs for port-run vessels and other ships.
  • The timetable: Last fall’s draft version was broadly scrutinized and subsequently revised – and more review will come quickly. Los Angeles and Long Beach harbor commissions must approve the plan – and a vote is expected in November.
  • How you can get involved: A new public comment period for the plan extends through Sept. 18 and officials will be holding a public workshop on Aug. 30 at Banning’s Landing Community Center. For more info: www.cleanairactionplan.org.

The price – and how to pay it

  • The bottom line: Between $7 and $14 billion will be spent to rid the ports of machines now powered by fossil fuels.
  • The breakdown: As much as $8.2 billion will be spent to deploy zero-emissions big-rigs – and another $1.03 bullion to deploy near-zero emissions vehicles.
  • Cargo handling: Green-burning equipment will cost as much as $8.2 billion. The infrastructure to support it? Another $2.2 billion.
  • At berth: As much as $138 million will be spent to reduce emissions where ships are moored.
  • Ships: As much as $137 million would pay for incentive programs to reduce emissions produced by cargo craft visiting the ports.
  • R&D: $22 million would fund research, development and demonstration of new gear.
  • Who pays for it? Starting now, port officials are looking for support from the state and federal government.

Brown and the Democrat-dominated legislature are likely proponents. But the reception from Washington D.C. is likely to be a lot chillier. With Donald Trump in the White House, California can no longer rely on the administration for rubber-stamped support of its environmental goals.

Regardless, the plan makes it clear: “Outside of any state and federal funding … these costs will be borne by the ports themselves and private industry.”

How fast? Officials will need much of the funding within five to seven years to ensure there is the infrastructure in place to convert to zero emissions beyond that time.

Air – and how to clean it

  • The bottom line: The plan seeks to cut greenhouse gas emissions and rid the hub of harmful diesel pollutants. Why? In the areas closest to the ports, asthma hospitalization rates among children – who are more sensitive to toxic air – are higher than other parts of Los Angeles. One study suggests freight pollution costs Long Beach and Riverside, where much of the container traffic winds up, about $18 million annually to address asthma and respiratory problems.
  • The breakdown: Targeted cuts in greenhouse gases are 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 – and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. The plan doesn’t create goals to further reduce diesel particulate matter, sulfur oxides or nitrogen oxides beyond those made in its 2010 plan. Instead, it relies on new, clean-burning technology to further slash emissions.
  • The response: The move is likely to upset environmentalists who wanted to see more aggressive efforts to eliminate the most toxic of pollutants.

“The mayors laid out a bold vision for what they expect. What people are going to look at is, ‘does this plan live up to this vision?'” said Adrian Martinez, an attorney for Earthjustice. “You have to have a way to measure success otherwise it’s another policy plan that could be dismissed at the whim of future harbor commissions,” he said. “Emissions commitment are important.”

Trucks – and what they’ll run on

  • The bottom line: Since 2006, the clean ports program has focused on cleaning up diesel trucks, a major driver of harmful pollutants. The ports vow to intensify that effort.
  • The breakdown: Truckers must register their big rigs with the port to bring loads in and out. Next year, all new trucks that register must meet 2014 emissions standards. The standard will be upped to near-zero emission in 2023 for newly registered trucks. But that leaves thousands of trucks with older engines that belt out pollutants. There are about 16,000 trucks serving the port, and every year about five percent – or 800 trucks – in the fleet are new. So, the conversion to cleaner trucks will come slowly.
  • Penalties: In 2035, big rig drivers not meeting zero-emissions at the port must pay a fee.
  • Waiting: An appointment system for truckers aims to prevent drivers waiting hours for a load to arrive, their idling engines stirring up pollutants.
  • The loophole: Port officials earlier proposed an even more stringent regulation that would have imposed fees and restrictions on all trucks 10 years or older but had to nix the idea because of a concession the legislature gave the trucking industry.

The industry supported Brown’s $5 billion a year plan to fix crumbling transportation infrastructure by raising fees on vehicles and gas. In exchange, the trucking industry could keep dirtier burning trucks that have 800,000 miles – or up to 18 years of service – without having to worry about testing.

“Without the state moving forward on new requirements,” said Heather Tomley, director of environmental planning at Long Beach’s port, “we are not in a position to accelerate what they have done.”

On the dock – and at the shore

  • The bottom line: Ports will sink millions of dollars into testing and developing near-zero emissions technology with the hope of bringing to market a new generation of equipment to make the ports run faster and cleaner.
  • The breakdown: Officials aims to fill the docks with zero-emission terminal equipment by 2030, another goal of Gov. Brown.
  • Rail: Port officials hope to get half of all the containers coming in from Asia and other markets on rail, rather than on truck trailers, to ease congestion on freeways and eliminate some pollution.
  • Ships: The ports can’t control the fuel burned by ships that bring in cargo. But they will extend the vessel-speed reduction program, which keeps ships from burning excessive amounts of fuel. And ports will continue to encourage shippers to use plug-in technology while along the docks.

The response

  • From the ports: “A major part of our success is going to be getting as much funding as we can to support this transition,” said Long Beach’s Tomley, who helped put together the plan.
  • From shippers: “The CAAP puts all its eggs in one basket by unrealistically assuming that non-existent, non-automated, zero-emissions electric cargo handling equipment technology will be developed, tested, work as planned and be affordably mass produced to meet the ports’ rigid timelines,” John Mclauren, president of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association said in a released statement. “That’s a pretty big assumption with no margin for error and no Plan B if and when something goes wrong.”
  • From the trucking industry: “It is important to set goals that are reasonable and attainable, and that we don’t saddle an industry that has invested billions of dollars in clean technology with a mandate that is not viable commercially or operationally,” said Weston LaBar, Executive Director of the Harbor Trucking Association. “There are still many questions regarding zero emissions truck technology. It is important that the ports insure the final plan paves a path forward for affordable and efficient movement of cargo through the San Pedro Bay Complex first, and that sustainability is a by-product of a healthy supply-chain in the region.”

Online Edition

Declaring it the largest environmental investment ever undertaken by a cargo complex to wean itself off diesel dependency, Los Angeles and Long Beach port officials today unveiled their Clean Air Action Plan update – with a price tag that could reach $14 billion.

The latest installment in a decade-long effort to reduce pollution along the docks – which has already drastically reduced the toxic soup around the mammoth complex – aims to replace dirty-burning trucks and cargo-handling equipment with gear that produces zero, or almost zero, emissions.