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Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach Issue RFP for LNG Truck Fleet

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach—the US’ two leading container ports—have issued a joint Request for Proposals (RFP) for a new Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Truck Program. An LNG-powered truck fleet could help the world’s fifth largest port complex reduce particulate matter (PM) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) by 80 to 90 percent.

The effort is a component of the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan approved last November. (Earlier post.) Financial incentives through this program will fund up to a maximum of $144,000 per truck. The program is open to fleets of any size, including independent operators.

Replacing the thousands of dirty diesel trucks that call at our ports on a daily basis is a major component of the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan. Nearly 22,000 truck trips occur at the port complex in a single day, and the more we can do to make sure these are clean, non-polluting trucks, the better it is for all of us. No port in the world has committed to a project like this—and in Southern California, you have two ports sharing a commitment to significantly reduce port-related air pollution by implementing fleet programs which promote LNG, electric and clean diesel technologies.

—Geraldine Knatz, Ph.D., executive director at the Port of Los Angeles

By 2020, container traffic through the two ports is expected to more than double, from 15.8 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units) to 36.1 million TEU by 2020, noted James Hanka, President of the Long Beach Harbor Commission, during a presentation at the Clean Heavy Duty Vehicle Conference.

Both of these ports are in lock step. I’ve never seen two organizations that are such fierce competitors be more in tune with the requirements of today than the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. We’re going to have to exercise environmental leadership. Exerting that leadership is fundamental to meeting all [our] challenges. Truck fleet modernization is at the top of the list.

—James Hanka

Under the LNG Truck Program, heavy-duty diesel trucks older than 1989 would be scrapped and replaced with a 2006 model year, or newer, heavy-duty LNG truck. The Ports have allocated a total of $8 million each to the project, and the South Coast Air Quality Management District has allocated $6 million, for a total of $22 million for the LNG Truck Program.

All vehicles funded under the LNG Truck Program are required to have electronic monitoring units with global positioning system capability installed prior to delivery of the vehicle, and verification must be provided to the Port of Los Angeles prior to releasing the vehicle. The minimum requirements to receive the maximum award under the Program include 48,000 annual miles with at least 75% of these miles occurring within the South Coast Air Quality Basin, and trucks must make at least seven trips to the Ports per week. Contract term will be a minimum of three years.

Under the LNG Truck Program RFP, applicants are required to secure their own fueling through construction of a fueling station on fleet property or through an agreement with an independent mobile fuel provider. A related RFP is currently being issued by the Ports seeking construction of a centralized LNG fueling and maintenance facility; however, this facility will not be in place before the operation of the LNG Truck Program begins.



Who even manufacturers LNG truck drivetrains, and how much more do they cost relative to standard trucks?


There will be energy losses compared to diesel in keeping the vehicle tanks and fueling station tanks at high pressure and low temperature, presumably by boiling off then burning some vapour. Maybe in a decade a high percentage of trucks will be LNG or CNG fuelled raising the price of all forms of natgas. A few years later when world natgas reserves get very low I guess they'll switch to coal based syngas.

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