Smartway program expands to drayage
A group of large retailers and freight transportation providers has become an affiliate member of the Environmental Protection Agency's Smartway Transport partnership program and will develop a national certification program and rating system for clean-burning container-shuttle trucks that serve ports.
The Smartway program encourages companies that provide or hire freight delivery and logistics services to reduce their energy consumption to improve the environment and save money. The program offers transportation companies strategies to operate more efficiently and helps provide low-interest loans for cleaner burning vehicles. Shippers also take steps to cut their fuel consumption through better planning and loading dock techniques and commit to use Smartway carriers for a percentage of their delivery needs.
The Coalition for Responsible Transportation was created in 2007 in response to efforts by the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to regulate the trucking industry by banning older model trucks and forcing independent truck drivers to become employees of trucking firms. The coalition instead said it would lead the way in investing in modern trucks with EPA-mandated engines for fleets operating in the port. Members include retailers Target, Home Depot, Lowe's and Wal-Mart; Nike; ocean carriers NYK, Hanjin and 'K' Line; and several trucking companies serving Southern California. The group has deployed almost 5,000 low-emission diesel trucks at the two ports so far.
The coalition said Tuesday it has convened a working group to provide recommendations for a certification and rating system for drayage trucks that meet new environmental standards. The intent is to expand the Smartway program for over-the-road transportation into the drayage industry. The 'green' drayage truck rating system will provide a national framework to measure emissions levels of port trucking activities, set benchmarks for air quality improvement at ports and certify emission reductions that are achieved through the deployment of clean port by members of the shipping industry, it said.
Initially, the Smartway port drayage model will be developed based on air quality and truck fleet data that has been collected through clean truck deployments at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The goal is to ultimately use the model developed in Southern California as a template for a Smartway port drayage rating system that would be used on a national level, and could be individually tailored to major U.S. seaports.