Port of San Diego working on Clean Truck Program

| 4/19/2010

The Port of San Diego is working on its own Clean Truck Program to cut emissions and add enforcement teeth to the two-cargo terminal port.

The proposal looks to be less restrictive than a similar plan adopted at the Port of Los Angeles, but tough enough to allow trucks to be turned around at the gate for not meeting emissions standards.

During the port’s April Board of Port Commissioners board meeting, port staff outlined several reasons for considering a Clean Truck Program to give enforcement teeth to the state’s Port Drayage Regulation.

Last year, 9,777 truck visits to terminals were made by 5,569 trucks that weren’t registered with California’s Drayage Truck Registry as required by the California Air Resources Board.

In a memo from port staff, staff hinted that port leaders would likely consider adopting a measure similar to the Port of Oakland’s port truck regulation, which allows gate workers to deny entrance to trucks that don’t meet CARB’s port drayage truck regulation’s requirements.

San Diego’s Board of Port Commissioners is expected to see a draft of the proposed Clean Truck Program at its June meeting, Port Spokesman John Gilmore said.

“It’s very preliminary,” Gilmore said. “We will know more in a few weeks.”

Under San Diego’s early conceptual plan, trucks would be required to have an RFID chip to be used for checking compliance with the port drayage truck rule. The memo made it appear that the port is aware of its high number of visits from long-haul trucks, and may include a day-pass system for out-of-state truckers who make occasional port visits.

“Due to a regularly changing mix of cargos arriving at the Port of San Diego, only a small number of frequent calling drayage trucks have been identified,” the staff memo said. “Of the 1,172 trucks calling at the Port of San Diego’s marine terminals in the fourth quarter of 2009, only 413 made three or more visits during the quarter.”

CARB’s port drayage rule prohibited trucks with 1993 and older engines from entering ports and intermodal rail yards beginning in January 2010. It requires trucks with 1994-2003 model year engines to be equipped with a CARB-approved diesel particulate filter.

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach banned pre-1989 trucks from entering their ports in 2009. In January 2010, trucks with 1993 model year engines and older were banned. By 2012, only trucks meeting 2007 model year diesel engine emissions standards will be allowed at the two ports. Los Angeles also banned drivers who weren’t company employees, though that requirement has been challenged in a civil lawsuit.

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer