The Los Angeles Harbor Commission voted Thursday to include Class 7 trucks in the same emissions rules that already apply to Class 8 trucks.
Class 7 trucks now have to comply with the same Clean Air requirements as their Class 8 brothers.
Class 7 trucks now have to comply with the same Clean Air requirements as their Class 8 brothers.
The move will prevent carriers from using the smaller trucks to move empty chassis and lighter containers through the Port -- a carrier tactic seen as a way of thwarting the strict emissions requirements imposed on Class 8 trucks.

As well, the harbor Commission has banned the practice of "dray-offs" within the Harbor District or adjacent public streets. Dray-offs involve switching cargo from a CTP-compliant truck to a non-compliant truck within the Harbor District or adjacent public streets.

The Port's Clean Truck Program, in effect since Oct. 1, 2008, is modeled after the California Air Resources Board's (CARB) state Drayage Truck Rule. Both the State's and the Port's programs originally focused only on Class 8 heavy-duty drayage trucks, since they conducted most of the drayage at ports and rail yards across the State.

Since the start of 2010, Class 7 truck operation at the Port of Los Angeles has increased significantly, with an average truck engine age of 1998. Under the new tariff measure adopted by the Harbor Commission, operators of Class 7 trucks will be subject to the same access restrictions as Class 8 trucks, and they will have until July 1, 2011 to either purchase an engine retrofit or new vehicle in order to continue operating at the Port.

"Since its inception two years ago, the Clean Truck Program has resulted in significantly cleaner air in the region and more than 90 percent of gate moves at our terminals are now handled by compliant trucks," said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Geraldine Knatz, Ph.D. "By closing loopholes in the program, the action by the Harbor Commission today strengthens the Clean Truck Program and helps provide for its long-term sustainability."

As a result of the commission's action, motor carriers engaging in dray-offs are subject to fines of up to $1,000. They may also be judged to be in default of their concession agreement with the Port of Los Angeles. Violators are subject to as much as six months imprisonment in the county jail.

CARB is considering similar action to amend its State Drayage Truck Rule to include regulation of Class 7 vehicles and to address the dray-off issue. CARB is scheduled to vote on similar measures at its two-day meeting starting on Thursday, December 16.