Los Angeles launches nation’s first electric top handlers

Los Angeles launches nations first electric top handlers

The Port of Los Angeles has deployed the first commercially available battery-powered electric cargo top handlers in the US.

The five electric, human-operated top handlers purchased by Yusen Terminals will replace more polluting, diesel-powered equipment.

Typically diesel-powered, top handlers are off-road vehicles with an overhead boom for loading containers weighing up to 75,000 pounds onto trucks and trains, unloading them, and stacking them on terminals between pickups and deliveries.

The new Taylor ZLC 996 top handlers will be powered by a 650 volts (V) all-electric battery power drivetrain, capable of running two full shifts under normal work cycles, then ready-to-go after a five-hour boost using a180 watts (W) recharger.

There are currently 215 diesel top handlers used throughout the Port of Los Angeles, which account for about 30 per cent of all emissions from cargo-handling equipment in operation at the port’s terminals. Promoting the commercial use of ZE top handlers is one of many strategies underway at the port to boost the market for new emission-free technologies.

READ: PACECO debuts hydrogen-powered RTG at Port of Los Angeles

Toward that goal, last month the port applied to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a $412 million grant to support the deployment of 424 pieces of ZE cargo handling equipment, 250 ZE drayage trucks, and $50 million for community ZE initiatives.

If awarded, the EPA million grant would be matched with an additional $233 million by the port and several private sector partners, and result in reducing emissions of greenhouse gases by nearly 41,500 tonnes.

The Yusen Terminal electric top handler deployment is among a range of Port of Los Angeles programmes designed to help meet its nation-leading sustainability goals, including the transition of all cargo handling equipment on its terminals to ZE by 2030, and all drayage trucks calling at the Port to ZE by 2035.   

READ: Port of Los Angeles hit with 3 per cent TEU decline

“These all-electric cargo top handlers are the culmination of years of rigorous, real-world prototype testing and development here at our port,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka.

“I commend Yusen Terminals for its vision and leadership. Our collective commitment to pursuing this technology has paid off, helping prove this equipment’s commercial viability.”   

Earlier this month, the Los Angeles Harbor Commission approved a $2.6 billion dollar budget for the City of Los Angeles Harbor Department for fiscal year (FY) 2024/25.

More recently, A.P. Moller–Maersk (Maersk) invited the public to come aboard a containership when one of the world’s first methanol-enabled vessels arrives in Los Angeles this August.

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