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Port of Long Beach lands $30M for zero-emissions equipment

Electric yard tractors will replace diesel units at container terminal

The Port of Long Beach will use a $30.1 million grant to deploy zero-emissions cargo-handling equipment at the Long Beach Container Terminal. (Photo: Shutterstock)

The Port of Long Beach in Southern California announced it will receive a $30.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to deploy the nation’s largest fleet of manually operated, zero-emissions cargo-handling equipment at a single marine terminal. 

Funding for the new clean air project comes from the 2022 Port Infrastructure Development Program, administered by the U.S. Maritime Administration, the port said Friday. The funds will be used to replace diesel yard tractors at the Long Beach Container Terminal with about 60 electric, human-operated units. The grant also will enable the construction of electric equipment charging stations with energy efficiency-enhancing software, training for operators and maintenance personnel, and installation of software equipment to streamline cargo-handling operations within the terminal.  

“This project is a critical step along our path toward zero emissions, will support good-paying jobs and reduce climate and air-quality impacts on nearby communities,” Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero said in a news release. “It is everything we strive for as the nation’s most sustainable seaport — moving cargo in a way that protects the health of our residents while ensuring our operations can continue to grow and support the economy.” 

The port has a goal of using entirely zero-emissions cargo-handling equipment by 2030 and a zero-emissions drayage truck fleet by 2035. About 17% of the cargo-handling equipment at the port currently is powered by electricity. According to port officials, that’s the largest such fleet in use in the United States. 

In September, port officials announced trucking company partner 4 Gen Logistics would fully convert its fleet to zero emissions by 2025 — 10 years before the 2035 goal. 

The port said compared to 2005, the year before the Clean Air Action Plan was adopted, it has reduced emissions of diesel particulate matter by 88%, nitrogen oxides by 49% and sulfur oxides by 96%.

The port said over the last year it has put in place a number of initiatives to further reduce air pollution and build a technological and operational bridge to a zero-emissions future. These include: 

  • Launching the Clean Truck Fund Rate, which is generating funding for zero-emissions trucks. 
  • Managing $150 million in zero- and near-zero-emissions demonstration projects inside the port and on Southern California roads. To date, $70 million in grant funding has been secured for these projects. 
  • Adopting an updated green ship program that provides the largest incentive for the cleanest vessels available today. In August 2021, the Port of Long Beach became the first seaport on the West Coast to refuel an LNG-powered ship, the cleanest commercially available container ship.
  • Funding demonstrations of vessel technologies capable of reducing ship-related emissions through the port’s technology advancement program.

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Click here for more American Shipper/FreightWaves stories by Senior Editor Kim Link-Wills.

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Kim Link Wills

Senior Editor Kim Link-Wills has written about everything from agriculture as a reporter for Illinois Agri-News to zoology as editor of the Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine. Her work has garnered awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Magazine Association of the Southeast. Prior to serving as managing editor of American Shipper, Kim spent more than four years with XPO Logistics.