A $50 million grant from the California Air Resources Board will jumpstart demonstration of zero-emission cargo movement at the Port of Long Beach.

Port official announced the grant Tuesday, Sept. 11. It will be used to help finance the Sustainable Terminals Accelerating Regional Transformation (START) Project.

START will demonstrate nearly 100 pieces of electrically-powered terminal equipment and truck at three California seaports — Oakland and Stockton in addition to Long Beach. It also will pay for development of a near-zero emissions tugboat and two of the cleanest ships to ever call on the West Coast.

The money comes from the state's Cap-and-Trade program as part of the California Climate Investments. There will be $52 million in matching fund spending from public and private partners, bringing the total to $102 million.

"The Board of Harbor Commissioners envisions a zero-emissions future in Long Beach," board President Tracy Egoscue said in a release. "This project accelerates the commercialization for the technology we need to get there… The Harbor Commission is very thankful to the California Air Resources Board for seeing the potential in this project."

Long Beach equipment paid for by START includes 33 zero-emission yard tractors and one top handler at Pier C, five electric trucks a Shippers Transport, two charging outlets at the Clean Trucks Program Center, two Matson container ships with Tier 3 engines and Harley Marine electric drive tugboats.

The end product will be a demonstration of a full near-zero/zero emissions supply chain. A "clean" ship will be brought to SSA Marine Pier C by an electric drive tugboat, and the ship will plug into on-dock electricity instead of running its engine while docked. Cargo containers would be handled by the electric-powered yard equipment, loaded onto electric trucks and hauled to Shippers Transport, an off-dock container yard.

A job training component with the Long Beach Unified School District and Long Beach City College also is part of the program. Target date for completion is June 2021.

"This will help get us to the green future that we all know is necessary if we want to continue to grow our business," Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero said, "and it's the right thing to do for our communities."

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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