First CNG alternative-fuel trucks arrive at Southern California ports to combat air pollution

Media Contact:
Denise King

Media Contact:
Art Wong

Southern California Gas Co.

Port of Long Beach

(877) 866-2066

(562) 590-4123


Media Contact:
Sam Atwood 

Media Contact:
Theresa Adams-Lopez


Port of Los Angeles

(909) 396-3687

(310) 732-3507


        LOS ANGELES, Dec. 2, 2008 – To help reduce air pollution at the busiest container seaports in the United States, Southern California Gas Co. (The Gas Company) – joined by officials from the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles and the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) – today launched a 12-month demonstration of the nation’s first clean-burning compressed natural gas (CNG) – fueled drayage trucks to transport containers off-loaded from ships.  

        To study the use of natural gas in port operations, four heavy-duty CNG trucks will move containers between the San Pedro Bay ports to nearby freight-consolidation yards.  The CNG truck engines are certified to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s stringent 2010 on-road emission standards.  The trucks are expected to reduce nitrogen-oxide (NOx) emissions – a precursor to smog – by 80 percent, as compared with the cleanest diesel truck. 

        “We envision these clean-fuel trucks playing an important role in the ongoing efforts to improve air quality around Southern California’s busy ports,” said Hal D. Snyder, vice president of customer programs at The Gas Company, who is serving as project lead.

        About two-thirds of the 15 million container units coming into the San Pedro Bay ports annually are moved by truck within a 25-mile radius of the docks.  In an unprecedented environmental program to clean up pollution from diesel big rigs by 80 percent by 2010, the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, working with trucking companies and other stakeholders, launched the Clean Trucks Program Oct. 1.  According to port officials, this is the most ambitious anti-pollution plan ever developed at a global seaport.  The natural gas-fueled trucks launched into service today, with co-funding from both ports, will play an important role in that effort.  The demonstration project’s overall cost is about $1.7 million.  The ports each contributed about $112,000, with $1.1 million from The Gas Company and $421,000 from the AQMD.

        “Long Beach welcomes the new CNG trucks to our port service,” said Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster.  “These four trucks will be added to the growing number of clean trucks that will help make the Port of Long Beach one of the cleanest ports in the world.”

        “The ports’ commitment to cleaning operations and lessening our impacts on the air we all breathe has another benefit which is just as important – the creation of new technologies,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Geraldine Knatz, Ph.D.  “The groundbreaking work in creating cleaner, better technologies such as these CNG drayage trucks raises the bar for all manufacturing and our hope is that other sectors make air quality a priority, as we did.”

        Cal Cartage, the largest motor carrier operating at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, will operate the natural gas-powered trucks, which are manufactured by Autocar and powered by Cummins Westport ISL G engines.

        As a low-carbon fuel choice, the use of CNG in these trucks also will help California achieve its goals under its Low-Carbon Fuel Standard and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by approximately 20 percent.

        The South Coast Air Quality Management District, which is co-funding the fueling station along with Trillium USA, said the use of these trucks will help reduce the health risks posed by air pollution from port-related sources.

        “AQMD’s funding of the Cal Cartage fueling facility will help reduce drayage truck emissions at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which are the largest fixed source of air pollution in the Southland,” said Barry Wallerstein, AQMD’s executive officer.  “This effort also will help the ports implement their clean port initiative goal of converting half of the truck fleet working in and around the ports to clean-burning natural gas.”

        Following the initial 12-month demonstration project, The Gas Company hopes to then further reduce emissions from the CNG drayage trucks by switching the fuel from CNG to a CNG/hydrogen blend.  This CNG/hydrogen fuel blend is widely regarded as an important gateway to a hydrogen future for the transportation sector, because the fuel has been proven to reduce nitrogen-oxide emissions from natural gas vehicle engines by an additional 30 percent to 50 percent.

        The Gas Company has been delivering clean, safe and reliable natural gas to its customers for more than 140 years.  It is the nation’s largest natural gas distribution utility, providing safe and reliable energy to 20.3 million consumers through 5.7 million meters in more than 500 communities.  The company’s service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles in diverse terrain throughout central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border.  The Gas Company is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE).  Sempra Energy, based in San Diego, is a Fortune 500 energy services holding company.

        The Port of Long Beach is one of the world’s premier seaports, a pioneer in goods movement and a trailblazer in environmental stewardship. One of Southern California’s key economic engines, the Port with its precedent-setting Green Port Policy is protecting wildlife habitats, improving air quality and making positive contributions to the greater Long Beach community.

        The Port of Los Angeles, also known as “America’s Port,” has a strong commitment to developing innovative strategic and sustainable operations that benefit the economy and the quality of life for the region and the nation it serves.  A recipient of numerous environmental awards, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2007 Clean Air Excellence Award, the Port of Los Angeles is committed to innovating cleaner, greener ways of doing business.  As the leading seaport in North America in terms of shipping container volume and cargo value, the Port generates 919,000 regional jobs and $39.1 billion in annual wages and tax revenues.  A proprietary department of the City of Los Angeles, the Port is self-supporting and does not receive taxpayer dollars. The Port of Los Angeles - A cleaner port.  A brighter future.

        AQMD is the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.