“Containergeddon” blamed on California emissions rules

Vermont one of 13 states following California emissions guidelines

By Guy Page

Beginning October 1, the Port of Los Angeles refused entry to tractor-trailer trucks more than seven years old. This carbon-emissions reduction measure is a little-known but – critics say – significant contributing factor to current supply chain bottleneck at West Coast ports. 

Beginning October 1, trucking companies that didn’t meet “Clean Truck” standards were denied access to the Port of Los Angeles (POLA), the POLA website says

The “Clean Truck” program, once voluntary, entered a new phase of mandatory compliance on October 1, the POLA website shows:

“The groundbreaking Clean Truck Program has reduced air pollution from harbor trucks by more than 90%, by voluntary early action to comply with State law. [But as of Oct. 1] all drayage [ the term for moving goods from ships through ports to nearby destinations] trucks entering port terminals must comply with the state law regulating Drayage Trucks. See the California Air Resources Board website for current regulations, as well as future rulemaking. In addition, all drayage trucks entering Port of Los Angeles (POLA) terminals must comply with the provisions of the Port of Los Angeles Clean Air Action Plan.” Approved in 2018, the POLA plan bans all trucks older than 2014. 

Licensed Motor Carriers ( LMCs) have been scurrying to meet the Oct. 1 deadline. In August 2020, there were only 900 ‘Clean Truck’ fleets. As of October 12, 2021, over 1,215 Concession Agreements have been received. 

What is not known is how many trucking companies did not meet the October 1 deadline for a new Clean Truck agreement, nor how many older trucks have been effectively banned from ports. 

The supply chain problem isn’t just due to a truck shortage created by emissions standards, of course. But a Conservative Tree House contributor claims the ban “wipes out approximately half of the fleet trucks used to move containers in/out of the port. Operating the port 24/7 will not cure the issue, because all it does is pile up more containers that sit idle as they await a limited number of trucks to pick them up. THIS is the central issue.”

Vermont is one of 13 states that have agreed to follow California emissions standards, which are stricter than U.S. standards. Also, the Vermont Climate Council is preparing recommendations for reducing transportation-related carbon emissions, which comprise almost half of all instate carbon emissions. 

According to the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, “The Vermont Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) Program ensures that new vehicles sold in Vermont are the cleanest available by requiring that 1) new vehicles sold in Vermont meet California emissions standards, 2) vehicle manufacturers meet a sales-weighted fleet average emissions standard for criteria pollutants and greenhouse gases, 3) a portion of the vehicles sold meet zero-emission vehicle standards, and 4) vehicle manufacturers provide extensive warranty coverage to consumers.”

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