Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Seattle Kicks Off Clean Truck Program, Bans Pre-1994 Trucks

In addition to kicking off a new decade, New Year's Day 2011 inaugurated the start of the Port of Seattle's clean truck program.

As of Jan. 1, only trucks with 1994 or newer engines are permitted to enter the Seattle port’s four main container facilities – Terminal 5, Terminal 18, Terminal 30 and Terminal 46. Older trucks with pre-1994 engines are banned from servicing those terminals.

In addition, under the truck program all port-servicing trucks entering those terminals must be registered with the port's Drayage Truck Registry and display a Green Gateway sticker on the driver's door certifying that the truck is compliant with new truck program regulations.

Part of the omnibus environmental plan known as the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy, the Seattle truck program has registered more than 4,000 trucks and 800 trucking firms since the registry was first implemented last year.

Pre-1994 model year trucks are eligible for participation in the year-old Scrappage and Retrofits for Air in Puget Sound, or ScRAPS, program. Funded by the port, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency and the Washington State Department of Ecology, the program has scrapped more than 215 pre-1994 trucks.

The ScRAPS program offers truckers willing to scrap their pre-1994-engined trucks either $5,000 cash or the blue book value of their truck – whichever is greater. In addition to helping scrap older trucks, the program also offers drivers grant monies to retrofit 1994 and newer trucks with pollution control devices.

Drayage drivers who scrap their trucks also have the option of using their ScRAPS money to purchase a newer truck through loan assistance from Cascade Sierra Solutions, the contractor running the truck program; purchase their replacement truck from a third party; or, leave the drayage trucking industry altogether. To date, nearly 10 percent of the ScRAPS funding recipients have chosen to leave the industry.

The first phase of the ScRAPS program began with $1.5 million to pay for scrapping and just under $700,000 to pay for retrofits. A second phase, set to kick off later this year, has an additional $2.5 million for scrappage and retrofits.

The more stringent Southern California ports' Clean Trucks Program, implemented in October 2008, led to the trucking industry investing more than $650 million to upgrade the local drayage fleet to 2007 or newer models within two years. Almost 90 percent of all cargo moved by truck through the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles is now being handled by 2007 or newer model year trucks. Officials from the Southern California ports claim that, as of Jan. 1, 2010, ports-servicing truck emissions have been reduced about 80 percent from baseline pollution levels recorded in 2005. In all, the Southern California truck programs have removed more than 8,000 older trucks from a local drayage fleet that numbered around 19,000 trucks prior to the truck program implementation. It is worth noting that the banned trucks were not removed from the road, simply banned from servicing the ports. Under the Southern California truck programs, very few of the older trucks were ever actually scrapped under the program.