SoCal ports to fund more than 100 LNG drayage tractors
The Port of Los Angeles' board Thursday approved agreements with six local trucking firms for the purchase, fueling and maintenance of 75 liquefied natural gas tractors for use hauling cargo containers in and out of the San Pedro Bay ports.
The $13.8 million for the trucks will be jointly funded by the neighboring ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.
The board approval also gave the Los Angeles port executive director discretion to negotiate and execute agreements for 42 additional trucks with four as yet undetermined firms, bringing the total allocation to $21.2 million for 117 LNG trucks.
The Long Beach and Los Angeles ports will share the costs for the trucks to the tune of $13.5 million and $8 million, respectively. The South Coast Air Quality Management District will also contribute funds to the program.
The ports drew up the LNG truck program as part of their omnibus Clean Air Action Plan that was approved last November.
Under the program, trucking firms who meet certain criteria become eligible for port grants of $184,000 per LNG truck to be purchased. The firms must also scrap out a working pre-1994 tractor that has been used in Southern California port drayage for the past three years in order to receive the funds.
The largest single portion of the money will go to Rancho Dominguez-based transportation firm Southern Counties Express. The firm, which began pursuing the idea of building a fleet of LNG tractors several years ago, will receive $9.2 million from the ports for the purchase of 50 LNG tractors.
The firm recently broke ground at their Carson facility for a public LNG fueling station that will be owned and operated by Seal Beach-based Clean Energy Fuels. The station, which will be able to fuel several trucks simultaneously, is scheduled to be operational within a month. Southern Counties has also leased office space and maintenance facilities at its Carson terminal to Vancouver, Canada-based Westport Innovations to provide technical support for the LNG fueling systems on the trucks.
Southern Counties said Thursday that the first of the port-funded LNG trucks would be in operation before the end of the year, with full deployment by the end of March. The port-funded trucks will make Southern Counties the largest private U.S. trucking firm deploying LNG tractors.
The Los Angeles port's approval on the trucks now heads to the Los Angeles City Council for a vote next month.
Long Beach port commissioners have yet to vote on its contributions to the program.