In danger of being priced out of the market, harbor truckers are seeking financial aid and more time to achieve compliance with tightening environmental regulations. Ports from Oakland, Calif., to New York are adopting clean-trucks programs that will require independent owner-operators, who in many cases make $35,000 a year or less, to shell out more than $50,000 for new trucks.
Put another way, drivers are being asked to help clean the air by emptying their pockets — and many aren’t ready to do it, reported the Journal of Commerce. Some truckers in Northern California are asking the California Air Resources Board, whose drayage truck program forms the basis of the Port of Oakland’s clean-trucks program, to extend the Jan 1, 2014, deadline for full compliance that calls for a ban on all trucks built before 2007.
As the landmark Los Angeles-Long Beach clean-trucks program demonstrates, banning old trucks dramatically reduces harmful diesel emissions. But as more ports look to mirror that success, they’re hearing from truckers about the high costs of complying with rules that progressively tighten the ban on trucks built between 2003 and 2006.
Those vehicles comprise the majority of trucks operating at the ports, and they fall short of the mandated standards for 2007 and newer trucks. Harbor truckers in New York-New Jersey face a 2017 deadline for purchasing 2007 or newer trucks. Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said 4,189 trucks call frequently in the harbor, and 3,948 of those are 2006 or older.