Clean Air Action Plan Stymies Port Backlog
The blockage at the twin California ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles is slowly clearing up, but it could be done a lot faster. One such cog jammer is the Clean Air Action Plan, a joint effort by both ports to reduce emissions. A noble goal, considering the smog density in the Los Angeles Basin about fifteen years ago, but it is not helping the immediate problem.
With the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, truckers may feel that they are between Scylla and Charybdis. Despite being two different ports, the two work together often because of their close proximity.
One such example is the Clean Air Action Plan, which the website describes as “[identifying] strategies to reduce pollution from every source – ships, trucks, trains, cargo-handling equipment and harbor craft.”
Of course, the favorite method to deter behavior is fees and penalties. Come April 1st, 2022, trucks that fail to meet zero-emission goals will be charged $10 per pickup. The twin ports estimate $90 million in revenue from 9 million encounters in the first year.
While it might seem absurd to blame a rule six months from now for the current dearth of trucks grabbing containers, experts say trucking businesses that work around the ports are opting to not buy older trucks in anticipation of the new rule. It makes sense, why buy a used truck now, at a premium, that is going to add another red line item to your budget when you can wait for a newer truck and avoid all of the headaches?
The California Trucking Association is calling on the California Air Resources Board, as well as the twin ports, to delay the fine among other incoming regulations that will make the air cleaner, at a cost of fewer trucks working the ports.
This is not the first time the ports have enacted rules in the interest of cleaning the air; in 2012 they effectively banned any truck not up to 2007 emission standards from ever entering the port.
With Christmas approximately a few weeks away, it will be interesting to see what happens next regarding the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports saga. With all the actions taking place, the backlog appears to be shrinking, but not at a rate that makes anyone happy. In the future, it is possible ocean carriers may opt to go to other ports and deliver further by rail or truck to compensate.
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