The Northwest Seaport Alliance Applauds Launch of Zero-Emission Truck Collaborative; Major Milestone on Path to Sustainable Trucking in the Puget Sound

Zero Emission Drayage Truck

The Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA), the marine cargo partnership between the ports of Seattle and Tacoma, applauds the launch of the Puget Sound Zero-Emissions Truck Collaborative (Collaborative). The Collaborative – which meets for the first time on Friday, June 30 – brings together representatives from more than 25 key stakeholder groups, including truck manufacturers, trucking companies, warehousers, retailers, utilities, and near-port communities and NGO’s.  Their job is to develop a strategy for a just and equitable transition to zero-emission drayage trucking in the Puget Sound region by 2050 or sooner. 

“The formation of this Collaborative is another significant step in our journey to achieve sustainable and resilient port operations,” stated NWSA Co-Chair Sam Cho. “The transition to zero-emission drayage trucks will be as complex as it is necessary.  By working together, we can drive change and help foster a cleaner, greener future for the Pacific Northwest.”

The NWSA, which supports 58,000 jobs and more than $12 billion in business activity annually, relies heavily on a network of about 4,500 heavy-duty trucks that provide cargo-hauling services in and out of the terminals in Seattle and Tacoma; a high percentage of these service-providers are independent owner-operators or very small trucking companies. Currently, almost all of the drayage trucks are diesel-powered vehicles that produce emissions that affect air quality in near-port communities and contribute to climate change.  In 2021, the Managing Members of the NWSA – the commissioners of the ports of Seattle and Tacoma – unanimously adopted the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy, which sets the goal of phasing out emissions from all seaport activities by 2050 or sooner. 

“The Northwest Seaport Alliance aims to reduce air pollution and address environmental health disparities faced by communities residing near our harbors and major freight corridors,” stated NWSA Co-Chair Deanna Keller. “Working with our drayage service-providers to shift from traditional diesel-fueled trucks to zero-emission alternatives will improve air quality for drivers, near-port neighbors and workers on our terminals.”

The Collaborative’s main charge is to develop, by the end of 2024, a Decarbonizing Drayage Roadmap that maps out strategies for capitalizing on new opportunities (such as increases in state and federal funding) and addressing key challenges (such as the high relative costs of zero-emission trucks and the current lack of charging and fueling infrastructure).  Their work will be guided by the best available data and research as well as on-going engagement with drayage truckers, near-port communities, and other key stakeholders.

With funding support from the Washington Department of Transportation, the NWSA hired a consulting team to serve as a neutral, third-party coordinator for the Collaborative. 

“We’re excited to support this important work,” said Dennis McLerran, former EPA Region 10 Administrator, and a leader on the coordination team.  “We applaud the NWSA’s leadership in catalyzing this Collaborative and appreciate all those who have committed to serve on it.  Make no mistake: decarbonizing trucking will be hard.  We’ll only succeed by working together.”

The goal of the Collaborative’s first meeting this week is to introduce members of the Collaborative and create a shared understanding of project context, background, and objectives and proposed process for the Collaborative. Members will discuss and affirm Roadmap principles and Collaborative purpose, as well as the Collaborative charter and operating guidelines.

The Collaborative will meet bi-monthly until December 2024. The mix of virtual and in-person meetings will be open to the public, with each session featuring dedicated time for public comments. All meeting announcements and materials will be accessible through a public website, ensuring transparency and accountability throughout this collaborative process. 

More information on the Collaborative and meeting materials can be found here: 

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