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Project aims to reduce port emissions

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More battery-powered trucks are expected to enter the Port of Oakland’s fleet thanks to a new state grant, port officials said Tuesday.

The California Air Resources Board has preliminarily awarded a $50 million grant to the Port of Long Beach for the Sustainable Terminals Accelerating Regional Transformation Project, known as START.

The START Project will demonstrate nearly 100 pieces of zero-emissions terminal equipment and trucks at three California seaports, including the Port of Oakland, develop a near-zero emissions tugboat, deploy two of the cleanest ships to ever come to the West Coast and advance workforce development programs to support sustainable goods movement, Oakland officials said.

The project is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that uses cap-and-trade dollars to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, strengthen the economy and improve public health and the environment, particularly in disadvantaged communities.

Port of Oakland officials say they expect to receive about $9 million in grant funds.

They said Shippers Transport Express, a port tenant, would get 10 zero-emission, battery-powered trucks to haul containers and SSA, another tenant, would acquire five zero-emission yard trucks to shuttle containers within Matson marine terminal, which SSA operates.

The Port of Oakland said it expects to spend up to $2 million to construct battery-charging stations as part of the agreement.

Long Beach and Stockton are other California ports participating in the grant program.

Richard Sinkoff, the port’s director of environmental programs and planning, said in a statement:

“Our goal is to minimize the impact of containerized freight transportation on air quality and zero-emission vehicles play a big role in that effort.”

The Port of Oakland drafted a clean air plan this summer calling for further reduction in diesel emissions from cargo operations and the plan is now out for public review.

Among the plan’s recommendations are converting to zero-emission vehicles when technology is readily available and financially practical.

Port officials say electric vehicles don’t emit diesel exhaust that contributes to air pollution.

The port said a handful of electric trucks currently operate in Oakland hauling containerized cargo and the state grant will increase the number.

The port projects that the new battery-powered trucks could be in service by the middle of 2020.

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