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Hino’s Project Z drives toward zero-emission medium and heavy trucks

Southern California trucking companies showcased their near-zero-emission (NZE) natural gas trucks in a clean truck parade to commemorate the opening of the new Port of Long Beach bridge.

The 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 percent of the active drayage truck fleet.  

Polb Vnr Electric Lead Truck Parade Of Clean Vehicles Volvo TrucksPhoto: Volvo Trucks North America

“Today’s clean truck parade demonstrates our members’ commitment to reducing their carbon footprint by investing in sustainable transportation technologies and fuels,” noted Weston LaBar, CEO of the Harbor Trucking Association. “The near-zero emission natural gas trucks on display today have already made a measurable impact on  emissions from the drayage truck fleet serving the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and have played a large role in the success of the ports’ Clean Trucks Program.”

Each day, more than 17,000 drayage trucks haul freight to and from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach—nearly 40% of the nation’s total containerized import traffic and 25% of its total exports combined. 

Several of the fleets participating in the parade have received incentive funds from the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) or other programs in California to accelerate their fleet turnover. Southern California only has until the end of 2022 to significantly cut ozone-forming NOx emissions in order to reach minimum standards set by the federal government for clean and healthy air, known as National Ambient Air Quality Standards, or NAAQs. Failure to meet these federal air quality standards can trigger fines and penalties, including withholding billions of dollars of federal highway funds.

“I commend the fleets participating in today’s clean truck parade for being at the forefront of reducing emissions,” said Wayne Nastri, executive officer at South Coast AQMD. “Cleaning up our heavy-duty fleets is critical to improve our air quality across the entire region, particularly in disadvantaged communities.”

Polb Line Up Of Clean Trucks Vnr Electric Lead Truck Volvo TrucksPhoto: Volvo Trucks North America

In May 2020, the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles upgraded NZE heavy-duty natural gas trucks to the highest Technology Readiness Level—TRL 9—in the Feasibility Assessment for Drayage Trucks. NZE natural gas trucks are the first technology in the ports’ assessment to achieve the TRL 9 rating.

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 ISX12N engine powers several heavy-duty trucks that operate in the ports’ overweight corridor with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of up to 96,000 pounds.

The lead Volvo VNR Electric truck was driven by NFI, a third-party supply chain solutions provider, and joined by a second Volvo VNR Electric truck from Dependable Highway Express (DHE). The two fleets, partners in the Volvo LIGHTS (Low Impact Green Heavy Transport Solutions) project, are piloting Volvo Trucks’ battery-electric models through 2021.

“NFI has opted to take a leadership role in electrification because we believe it’s the right thing to do,” said Bill Bliem, senior vice president, Fleet Services, NFI Industries. “We are proud of the steps our fleet has made to reduce its carbon footprint through innovative partnerships with Volvo Trucks and others and were honored to be asked to lead the Port of Long Beach clean truck parade today. We look forward to our Volvo VNR Electrics crossing this bridge on a regular basis.”

The Volvo LIGHTS project was made possible by an award to South Coast AQMD of $44.8 million from the California Air Resources Board as part of California Climate Investments (CCI). CCI is a statewide initiative that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

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