Long Beach Launches Zero Emissions Demo Project for Cargo Handling

demonstration project for zero emissions equipment
Port of Long Beach (file photo)

Published Oct 15, 2020 7:57 PM by The Maritime Executive

A container shipping terminal at the Port of Long Beach is now using new, zero-emissions cargo-handling tractors to test the readiness of the equipment to handle the workload at a busy seaport. It is part of the port and state of California’s long-term initiative to lower emission from the port and industrial operations across the state.

The terminal located at the Port’s Pier G is operated by International Transportation Service. ITS will demonstrate seven BYD battery-electric yard tractors for one year. For comparison purposes, the port reports that seven traditionally powered yard tractors annually emit 11 pounds of diesel particulate matter, 1,331 pounds of nitrogen oxides and 311 metric tons of greenhouse gases. 

Cabs of the zero emissions tractors that are being tested in the demonstration project - courtesy Port of Long Beach

Discussing some of the challenges on converting from the traditional equipment to the new green technologies, Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero commented, “We need equipment that can make it through an entire shift, with recharging during breaks. That’s one of the requirements for zero-emissions equipment to demonstrate that it can function in a real-world environment.”

The project is part of a $9.7 million grant awarded by the California Energy Commission, which involves the design or creation of 21 new or converted electric cargo handling vehicles. The grant will pay for most of the $13.7 million project intended to help commercialize vehicles that will move cargo sustainably at seaports all around the world and help the Port of Long Beach meet its goal of a zero-emissions cargo handling fleet by 2030.

“This project is an important step in realizing our Green Port aspirations,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Frank Colonna. “We would like to thank the California Energy Commission for their generous grant to help us clean our air and protect the communities around the harbor.”

As part of the project, Southern California Edison also helped modernize the existing electrical infrastructure needed to support Port electrical equipment.