The Port of Long Beach in Southern California has announced that it will receive a $30.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to deploy the nation’s largest fleet of manually operated, zero-emission cargo equipment at a single marine terminal.

Funding for the new clean air project comes from the 2022 Port Infrastructure Development Program, which is administered by the US Maritime Administration, the port said Friday. The funds will be used to replace diesel locomotives at the Long Beach Container Terminal with about 60 human-operated electric vehicles. The grant will also build charging stations for electrical equipment with software to improve energy efficiency, train operators and maintenance staff, and install software to streamline cargo handling operations at the terminal.

“This project is a critical step on our journey to zero emissions, will support good-paying jobs and reduce climate and air quality impacts on neighboring communities,” Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cardero stated this in a press release. “This is what we strive for as the nation’s most sustainable seaport – moving cargo in a way that protects the health of our residents while ensuring that our operations can continue to grow and support the economy.”

The port aims to use zero-emission handling equipment by 2030 and a zero-emission truck fleet by 2035. About 17% of the port’s handling equipment is currently powered by electricity. It is the largest such fleet in use in the United States, according to port officials.

In September, the port management announced cargo carriers as partners 4 Gen Logistics will completely transition its fleet to zero emissions by 2025 – 10 years ahead of the 2035 target.

Port said compared to 2005, the year before Clean Air Action Plan was adopted, it reduced diesel particulate emissions by 88%, nitrogen oxides by 49% and sulfur oxides by 96%.

The port said that over the past year, it has implemented a number of initiatives to further reduce air pollution and build a technological and operational bridge to a zero-emissions future. These include:

  • Launch Net truck fund ratewhich raises funding for zero-emission trucks.
  • Managing $150 million with zero and near-zero emissions demonstration projects in port and on the roads of Southern California. To date, $70 million in grants have been awarded for these projects.
  • Adoption of the updated Green Ships Program, which provides the largest incentive for the cleanest vessels available today. In August 2021, the Port of Long Beach became the first seaport on the West Coast to fuel a ship powered by LNG, the cleanest commercially available container ship.
  • Funding for demonstrations of marine technologies capable of reducing ship-related emissions through the Port Technology Improvement Program.

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Click here for more American Shipper/FreightWaves stories from Senior Editor Kim Link-Wills.

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