Ports of Seattle, Tacoma and Vancouver propose joint truck restrictions

| 11/21/2007

Just as truckers are seeing major operational changes at the nation’s biggest West Coast port complex, a group of ports in the Pacific Northwest is eyeing a similar plan.

Officials at the ports of Seattle and Tacoma, WA, announced the “Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy,” a plan aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from their ports. The port officials also are working with their counterparts at the Vancouver Port Authority in British Columbia, Canada, on the project.

The latest draft proposal for the plan calls for trucks to meet tougher particulate matter standards. By 2015, 80 percent of the trucks at the port would be required to reach the equivalent particulate matter emissions level of 2007 or newer engines. All trucks would have to meet the 2007 standard by 2017.

The ports commissions plan to consider approval in January 2008.

The plan calls for radio frequency identification – commonly referred to as RFID – or other technology to create a “paperless gate” entry system, and the undertaking of a feasibility study to use short-sea shipping as an alternative to trucking. Also, the plan would implement programs similar to the Vancouver Port Authority’s truck licensing program.

The ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles each approved emissions-based truck restrictions earlier this month that phase out all trucks with engines that don’t meet 2007 model year emissions standards by 2012. The adjacent L.A. and Long Beach ports plan to consider additional restrictions next month that would require trucks entering the port to be employed by “licensed concessionaires.”

Officials with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association are concerned that the proposed plan in L.A. and Long Beach would restrict access to ports for small-business owners that make port calls periodically – creating further expenses for drivers arranging for someone with port access to haul trailers in and out of the port.

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer