Air pollution is a significant problem in the state of California. The San Joaquin Valley and South Coast Air Basins experience some of the highest air pollution levels in the United States, according to data from the EPA. Of the ten most ozone-polluted U.S. cities, seven are located in the Golden State.

Additionally, a 2021 air-quality report from the Environment America Research & Policy center ranked Southern California air pollution as the worst in the country. That same report quantified the number of days of elevated ozone and/or particulate matter in several population centers in California during the year 2020:

Days of Elevated Ozone and/or Particulate Matter

232 days
San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA

209 days
Los Angeles-Long-Beach-Anaheim, CA

203 days
Riverside-San Bernadino-Ontario, CA

122 days
Sacramento-Roseville-Folsom, CA

Exposure to ozone and particulate matter pollution can trigger significant health issues, including respiratory problems, heart disease, and lung cancer. Emphysema, bronchitis, and asthma have all been linked to long-term exposure to polluted air.

In order to reduce transportation-related emissions, the state of California, in conjunction with the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, have launched a series of initiatives to:

  • Improve air quality
  • Positively impact the health of California residents

Two of these programs directly relate to the freight and transportation industries:

  1. The Clean Trucks Program
  2. The Warehouse Actions and Investments to Reduce Emissions (WAIRE) Program

If you’re sending or receiving freight through California ports, you may see some impacts from these regulations. In this article, we’ll explain exactly what these regulations mean—and how they might affect you as a shipper.

Reducing Port-Related Emissions: The Clean Trucks Program

90% reduction in air pollution from harbor trucks since 2008

The Clean Trucks Program is a collaboration between the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, as part of the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan. Since its inception in 2008, the program has reduced air pollution from harbor trucks by more than 90%. The ports’ ultimate goal is to positively contribute to California’s clean air initiatives by achieving industry-leading zero emissions drayage trucking by 2035.

In order to incentivize the changeover to clean trucks, as of April 1, 2022, the ports started assessing a Clean Truck Fund (CTF) Rate of $10 per TEU and $20 for containers longer than 20 feet.

Containers hauled by zero-emissions trucks are permanently exempt from the rate. Containers hauled by low-nitrogen-oxide trucks are temporarily exempt through 2027 at the Port of Los Angeles and though at least 2031 at the Port of Long Beach. You can read more about the program and related exemptions at the Port of Los Angeles website.

What Impact Will I See as a Shipper?

You may see this charge added to your invoice. Some carriers and forwarders are simply treating the CTF Rate as a pass-through charge, much like terminal handling charges and other similar items you’ll see on your ocean freight invoice. Others are absorbing the rate in their overall cost of doing business.

The ports have reserve the right to adjust the CTF rate in the future, so this is a charge you’ll want to keep tabs on if you regularly send freight through California.

Cleaner Air for California’s South Coast: Warehouse Actions and Investments to Reduce Emissions (WAIRE) Program

South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) adopted the Warehouse Actions and Investments to Reduce Emissions (WAIRE) Program, also known as Rule 2305, to reduce nitrogen oxide and diesel emissions associated with warehouses.

14.6 million residents in the South Coast AQMD

In addition to helping California meet federal Clean Air Act standards, WAIRE also aims to improve public health, especially for the 14.6 million residents living in the South Coast AQMD’s communities. The district encompasses most of Riverside County, the southwestern corner of San Bernardino County, the southern two-thirds of Los Angeles County, and all of Orange County.

WAIRE requires warehouse operators to:

  1. Earn a specific number of points each year by complying with emissions-reducing actions, and
  2. Submit reports about facility operations and compliance approaches.

Starting in 2022, the program will be phased in, based on the size of each warehouse. By 2024, all warehouses with more than 100,000 square feet of indoor floor space within the South Coast AQMD jurisdiction are expected to participate in the program.

What Impact Will I See as a Shipper?

By and large, you likely won’t see a direct impact from WAIRE. The program largely has administrative implications for warehouse operators in the South Coast AQMD. You may, however, notice that freight forwarders and warehouse operators you work with converting over to low-emissions and zero-emissions technology to contribute to WAIRE’s goals for reducing emissions.

Questions About California’s Clean Air Initiatives and Your Shipments?

As a member of the DeWitt family of companies, Approved has deep roots in Southern California. For our part, we’re also keenly aware of the impact that the freight and transportation industry can have on our environment. As sustainable solutions emerge—and become increasingly viable for logistics and freight applications—we’re committed to leveraging innovations that lessen our footprint.

If you have any questions regarding the impact of these initiatives on your shipments, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. You can call us at (866) 899-5945 or email [email protected]. We’d be happy to discuss your particular situation and any potential effects on your shipments.

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