Nearly five years in the making, the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles will begin collecting a Clean Truck Fund rate from cargo owners for each container hauled by drayage trucks.
In effect since April 1, the Clean Truck Fund rate charges cargo owners up to $20 per loaded container hauled by drayage trucks in and out of the container terminals, according to a Port of Long Beach news release. However, loaded containers hitching a ride on zero emission trucks are exempt.
Both ports claim the fee “will supercharge deployment of zero-emissions trucks and infrastructure at the nation’s largest port complex.”
“I’m urging the intermodal shipping industry to follow our lead in San Pedro Bay by decarbonizing trucking and minimizing climate impacts,” Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero said in a statement. “The Clean Truck Program allows us to balance the aggressive pursuit of zero-emissions operations with economic vitality and competitiveness. This rate is a vital component of this program.”
Low-NOx trucks are also eligible for an exemption.
The Port of Los Angeles defines a low-nitrogen oxide truck as one that that meets or exceeds the manufacturing standard for engines under the Low-NOx Omnibus Regulation adopted by CARB. Long Beach defines a low-NOx truck as a truck that meets the optional 0.02 grams per brake horsepower-hour standard or the final 2027 model year 0.02 grams per brake horsepower-hour standard NOx engine emission standard under the same regulation.
However, exemptions for low-nitrogen oxide trucks are available for a limited time. Those trucks must register with the Port of Los Angeles by Dec. 31 to be eligible for the exemption, which ends on Dec. 31, 2027.
Exemption rules at the Port of Long Beach are a bit more complicated. Trucks purchased before Nov. 8, 2021, are exempt until Dec. 31, 2034. Qualifying trucks registered with the Port Drayage Truck Registry and in service by Dec. 31 are exempt until Dec. 31, 2031. All low-nitrogen oxide trucks purchased by July 31 and registered within 30 days are eligible for the exemption through Dec. 31, 2031.
Private company PortCheck will collect the Clean Truck Fund rate. Cargo owners or their agents must register in the PortCheck system to arrange payments prior to pick up or drop-off. The CTF rate web portal is connected to the existing PierPass system for registration at PierPass.org. Users of the web portal can claim containers and provide for advanced payment of the rate.
Collection of the Clean Truck Fund will end in 2035.
Clean Truck Fund
Both ports adopted the Clean Air Action Plan Update in 2017, which includes reducing pollution from on-road drayage trucks through updates to each port’s Clean Truck Program.
In March 2020, harbor commissions in Southern California approved of the Clean Truck Fund rate that applies to certain diesel-powered trucks. Cargo coming out of the two ports will be hit with a fee of $10 per loaded 20-foot equivalent unit or $20 per loaded 40-foot equivalent unit. The “beneficial cargo owner” is responsible for the fee.
However, many believe the Clean Truck Fund rate will come straight out of truckers’ wallets. Truckers earn about $67 per trip at the port. During a Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners special meeting last August, Edward Renwick, vice president of the commission, said the $20 fees will “confiscate” a third of a port trucker’s income.
Renwick said beneficial cargo owners like Walmart may pass down the cost to the truckers. Walmart opposed the Clean Truck Fund when it was being proposed.
“If someone is in the bottom half, what we’re really talking about is the working poor,” Renwick said. “These are hardworking Americans that are working 11 hours a day, struggling to get by, and we’re talking about confiscating a third of their income.”
Addressing the possibility, each port’s tariff includes a provision prohibiting the Clean Truck Fund rate being paid by truck drivers. LL