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Ports Initiative

Drayage Truckers Best Practices

Drayage truck at a portGrants and financial incentives improve air quality at portsDrayage truck drivers play an important role in the fabric of port operations, the economy and air quality. Drayage truckers can help improve air quality in several ways as noted below.

Become an EPA SmartWay Carrier Partner

EPA's SmartWay Carrier Partner program helps truckers increase efficiency and fuel economy and have the documentation to prove it, giving them an advantage with prospective and current clients.   It's a win-win—your business saves money, and the environment suffers fewer harmful emissions.

Replace Old Trucks and Engines with Newer, Cleaner Ones

Newer trucks pollute significantly less due to much improved air emission control technologies installed on these trucks. Retiring older trucks and engines and replacing them with new or newer ones having the latest emission control technologies plays a major role in reducing air pollution at and near ports.

Many ports have clean truck programs that use grants  and other funding to provide financial incentives to improve air quality through truck replacement. Below are a few example programs. 

Avoid Idling - Shut Off the Engine

Turning off engines when not in use is the smartest and easiest way to reduce air pollution and save money. Not only does unnecessary idling waste fuel, but it causes wear and tear on the engine which requires more maintenance. Many communities have established an idle reduction policy for trucks, locomotives and cargo handling equipment that can effectively reduce diesel emissions. EPA maintains a list of verified idle reduction technologies.

Keep Engines Well Maintained

Engines that are properly maintained and tuned perform better and typically emit less pollution than engines that are not properly maintained. Rebuilding an engine can also significantly lower emissions, enhance performance and provide a cost-effective improvement for high value equipment. Proper maintenance or rebuilding lowers emissions by burning fuel more efficiently and can reduce operation costs and extend engine life.

Retrofit with Verified Technologies, Use Cleaner Fuels and Operate More Efficiently

Install emission reduction devices, use cleaner fuels, install aerodynamic equipment, low rolling resistance tires, and implement operational efficiencies which have been tested and verified. These technologies are cost-effective and yield substantial emission reductions. See EPA’s Clean Diesel Technology and SmartWay Technology to learn more about available options.

For an example of a retrofit project go to a case history on Camden Waterfront South:  Education and Retrofit Grant.

Operate During Off-peak Hours

By operating during off-peak hours, truck queuing, idling, and traffic congestion can be reduced. Not only can this increase flow and efficiency, but it can reduce the impacts of diesel exhaust during peak ozone hours. 

There are concerns associated with extended operation hours that include the additional labor needed to staff the terminals and gates at ports, as well as contract restrictions on off-peak labor. Extended hours may also be a concern to surrounding communities due to increased traffic during off-peak hours and may be restricted by noise or other local ordinances, so ports should seek community input when considering off-peak hours operations. 

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