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Diesel upgrade for Pier 400

While the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles continue to invest in developing and testing zero emissions equipment, APM Terminals has used a DERA grant to buy 16 new diesel tractors for Pier 400.

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LA and Long Beach have set an aspirational target in their latest Clean Air Action Plan of all cargo handling equipment at the ports being zero emission machines by 2030, but terminal operators continue to make equipment purchasing decisions that highlight a belief that zero emissions is not commercially feasible at this point.


The Port of Los Angeles has just announced APM Terminals Pier 400 has used $500,000 of $800,000 awarded to the Port of Los Angeles in 2016 under a Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) grant to replace 16 yard tractors “with the cleanest cargo handling equipment available.” While there are a variety of zero and near zero tractors on the market using battery drive systems and alternative fuels, Pier 400’s new machines have diesel Tier 4 final engines.


The port stressed that the new tractors (which cost a total of $2M - $125,000 a piece) replace machines with Tier 3 engines (hence their eligibility for DERA funding). The DERA grant was also used to provided $116,000 to TraPac towards the cost of re-powering two heavy-duty forklifts with Tier 4 engines.


“Combined, the two projects are expected to eliminate 322 tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx), 75 tons of particulate matter (PM), 14 tons of hydrocarbons (HC), and 237 tons of carbon monoxide (CO). NOx and HC are components of smog, and PM and CO are toxic contaminants. The total reduction in harmful emissions represents a savings of more than $11.2 million annually in health care costs to the public in Los Angeles County,” the port stated.


The port stressed that replacing older diesel powered machines with newer, cleaner diesels is consistent with the Clean Air Action Plan. “Deploying the cleanest available cargo handling equipment furthers the Port’s larger goal under the Clean Air Action Plan of accelerating progress toward a zero emissions future while protecting and strengthening its competitive position in the global economy. Improving the quality of life in neighbouring communities disproportionately affected by environmental pollution and assisting the region in attaining federal clean air standards are key objectives”.


Equipment replaced with DERA funding is normally required to be scrapped, but in this case APM Terminals received an exemption to donate 12 of the outgoing yard tractors to auto mechanic training programs in the Los Angeles Unified School District.


“This is a great outcome on all fronts,” said Steven Trombley, Managing Director, APM Terminals, Los Angeles. “We’re running a cleaner terminal and doing our part to improve the air for those who live and work in the harbour area. At the same time, we’re supporting workforce training by providing students the equipment they need to prepare for high-skilled, good-paying jobs in the goods movement industry right here in Southern California.”


“This project is a model of sustainability,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “We applaud APMT for its foresight, creativity and willingness to invest in green growth and education.”


There is some talk of California banning diesel engines altogether, but the state is still training people to repair them. “We were very excited and honoured to get this equipment from APM Terminals,” said Principal Sonya Ramirez of Harbour Occupational Centre, which specializes in adult education and career technical training. “Until now, our students have largely been working on older equipment. These tractors with Tier 3 engines allow our students to graduate and enter the workforce with the advantage of hands-on experience with the type of equipment they will actually see on the job.”

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