The Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) has applauded the launch of the Puget Sound Zero-Emissions Truck Collaborative (Collaborative).
The Collaborative – which met for the first time on 30 June – brings together representatives from more than 25 key stakeholder groups, including truck manufacturers, trucking companies, warehouses, retailers, utilities, and near-port communities and NGOs.
Their job is to develop a strategy for a just and equitable transition to zero-emission drayage trucking in the Puget Sound region by 2050 or sooner.
The NWSA, which supports 58,000 jobs and has more than $12 billion in business activity annually, relies heavily on a network of about 4,500 heavy-duty trucks that provide cargo-hauling services in and out of the terminals in Seattle and Tacoma.
A high percentage of these service-providers are independent owner-operators or very small trucking companies.
As reported by NWSA, almost all of the drayage trucks are currently diesel-powered vehicles that produce emissions that affect air quality in near-port communities and contribute to climate change.
In 2021, the Managing Members of the NWSA – the commissioners of the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma – unanimously adopted the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy, which sets the goal of phasing out emissions from all seaport activities by 2050 or sooner.
“The Northwest Seaport Alliance aims to reduce air pollution and address environmental health disparities faced by communities residing near our harbours and major freight corridors,” stated NWSA Co-Chair, Deanna Keller.
“Working with our drayage service-providers to shift from traditional diesel-fuelled trucks to zero-emission alternatives will improve air quality for drivers, near-port neighbours and workers on our terminals,” Keller added.
The Collaborative’s main charge is to develop, by the end of 2024, a Decarbonizing Drayage Roadmap that maps out strategies for capitalising on new opportunities such as increases in state and federal funding.
The strategies will also address key challenges such as the high relative costs of zero-emission trucks and the current lack of charging and fuelling infrastructure.
With funding support from the Washington Department of Transportation, the NWSA hired a consulting team to serve as a neutral, third-party coordinator for the Collaborative.
The goal of the Collaborative’s first meeting was to introduce members of the Collaborative and create a shared understanding of project context, background, and objectives and proposed process for the Collaborative, reported NWSA.
The Collaborative will meet bi-monthly until December 2024. The mix of virtual and in-person meetings will be open to the public, with each session featuring dedicated time for public comments.