Mario Cordero, executive director of the Port of Long Beach, speaks during a press event announcing a zero-emissions pilot project. Photos by Medina Kabir.

The Port of Long Beach (POLB) announced today that it is launching the nation’s largest zero-emissions pilot project thanks to a $9.7 million grant it received from the California Energy Commission (CEC).

During a press event held at a port terminal, officials from Southern California Edison (SCE) and CEC said they have partnered up with the Port of Long Beach to entirely reduce emissions by converting current equipments into electric powered ones.

The announcement comes months after the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles approved an update to their Clean Air Action Plan, setting a goal of transitioning all terminal equipment to zero emissions by 2030.

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“This project is another example of the goods movement industry, equipment builders, utilities and public agencies stepping up to reach for the goal of zero emissions,” said Mario Cordero, POLB executive director.

The project will bring 25 zero-emission vehicles to the port marine terminals for one year to test their performance.

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Some of the equipments include electric powered trucks provided by US Hybrid, the conversion of nine diesel-electric rubber-tire gantry cranes into fully electric equipment, the purchase of 12 battery-electric yard tractors and plug-in hybrid-electric trucks for a drayage trucking firm.

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The switch to zero-emissions equipment is expected to save more than 270,000 gallons of diesel fuel and reduce greenhouse gases by more than 13,000 tons and smog causing nitrogen by an estimate of 27 tons a year, port officials said.

According to spokesperson Rick Cameron, the project to tackle the emissions of the equipment is an important step toward cleaner air which was made possible by the large grant funded by CEC and is the bulk of the project’s $13.7 million total budget.

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“The projects we are kicking off today will help to address some of Southern California’s biggest challenges—cleaning up the air and reducing harmful greenhouse gases that cause climate change,” said SCE President Ron Nichols. “SCE’s vision for a clean energy future means partnering with the Port and other SCE customers to electrify transportation, as well as working hard to make sure the electricity that we provide to power those vehicles is produced with clean, renewable resources.”

SCE provided the charging infrastructure for the electric equipment the port used to move containers from ships to off-port transportation vehicles that are powered by diesel engines currently.

Testing of the new electric powered equipment is expected to begin in the next couple of months with the port set to launch the equipment by next year.