A procession of clean, zero-emissions and near-zero-emissions drayage trucks were a highlight of ceremonies marking the opening of the new bridge at the Port of Long Beach.
The “first drive” over the bridge on Oct. 2 was led by 30 cargo trucks representing the port’s terminals and major shipping lines for the new bridge, which was scheduled to open to traffic by 5 a.m. Monday, Oct. 5.
Battery-electric, natural-gas, and fuel-cell electric trucks were featured in the parade, driven by NFI/Cal Cartage, Total Transportation Solutions, Golden State Logistics, Gold Point, Quick Pick Express, Overseas Freight, MDB Transportation, Southern Counties Express, Tradelink Trans, Duncan & Sons, Pacific 9 Transportation, Green Trucking, and Pacific Drayage Services.
The new Port of Long Beach bridge — a $1.5 billion, 7-year joint effort with Caltrans, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority — will provide greater access for larger cargo ships to enter the port’s inner harbor terminals and provide expanded capacity for truck traffic. Combined, the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles handle nearly 40% of the nation's total containerized import traffic and 25 percent of its total exports. Since 2008, the two ports have collaborated on a Clean Truck Program to reduce the impact of truck emissions on the local community, with a goal of fully transitioning to zero-emission drayage trucks by 2035.
First in line was Volvo Trucks North America’s Class 8 VNR Electric truck for NFI. A second VNR Electric later in the procession was there representing Dependable Highway Express (DHE). The two fleets are partners in the Volvo LIGHTS (Low Impact Green Heavy Transport Solutions) project. They are piloting Volvo Trucks’ battery-electric models through 2021, demonstrating the trucks’ ability to reliably move freight between the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles and warehouses throughout the region with less noise and zero emissions.
There were also many natural-gas powered trucks in the parade. The California Natural Gas Partnership noted that seven fleet operators—NFI, Total Transportation Solutions Inc. (TTSI), MDB Transportation, Tradelink Transport, Pacific 9 Transportation, Overseas Freight, and Green Trucking—collectively operate 157 natural gas heavy-duty trucks that log more than 6.4 million miles per year, hauling freight daily to and from the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. In total, more than 700 natural gas trucks regularly haul freight to and from the two ports, representing approximately 6% of the active drayage truck fleet.
The fleets in the parade operate natural gas trucks that were factory built by Freightliner, Kenworth, Mack, Peterbilt and Volvo, and are commercially available for purchase across the nation. The heavy-duty, Class 8 trucks feature Cummins Westport’s NZE ISX12N near-zero emission (.02 g NOx / bhp-hr) natural gas engine, which is 90% cleaner than the EPA’s current heavy-duty NOx emission standard.
“The modern, fuel-efficient trucks parading across our bridge on Friday signify our industry-leading efforts toward breathing cleaner air and improving the quality of life for our community since the Clean Truck Program was enacted 12 years ago,” said Mario Cordero, executive director of the Port of Long Beach.