Get ready for California environmental regulations to shake up another industry – this time it will be freight and shipping.
Look for state regulators to release a draft of California’s Sustainable Freight Action Plan later this week.
The plan aims to transform trucking and shipping in the Golden State to zero-emission technologies by 2050, said consultant Erik Neandross, chief executive of Gladstein, Neandross & Associates.
The plan is a collaboration of a variety of state agencies including the California Air Resources Board. That’s the organization that devised the zero-emission vehicle plan for passenger cars.
Nine other states and Washington D.C. have joined California’s ZEV plan, giving the state wide influence over automotive environmental policy nationally. The other states include Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont.
California’s freight plan will have a similar, outsized influence on environmental policy, Neandross said.
“Policymakers everywhere will be watching California’s plan to restore healthful air quality for millions of residents,” Neandross said. “Slashing pollution from the goods movement system is essential to that goal.”
The quickest way to make freight cleaner is for trucking companies to start using near-zero-emission heavy-duty natural gas vehicles fueled by increasing volumes of ultra-low-emission renewable natural gas, Neandross said.
The technology is about here. Last month on Forbes, Trucks.com writer John O’Dell explained how Cummins CMI +0.36% Westport Inc. is about to launch a 8.9-liter “near-zero NOx” engine. Cummins Westport is a joint venture of diesel engine giant Cummins Inc.and natural gas engine developer Westport. The new engine emits 90% fewer NOx emissions than the present California standard of 0.2 grams per horsepower-hour.
Neandross doesn’t think the California plan needs to be a drag on California’s economy and predicts companies such as BYD , UPS, Siemens and American Power Group will all participate in innovative ways.
What is sure is that the trucking and logistics firms will be closely watching the details of California’s proposed Sustainable Freight Action Plan if it is released as expected later this week.