Seattle drivers contest truck engine rule

Port of Seattle NWSA is a marine cargo operating partnership formed by the ports of Tacoma and Seattle (pictured)

A rule that trucks using Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) terminals should have a 2007 engine by 1 April could see driver shortages and a lawsuit.

Seattle truck drivers have objected to the NWSA’s proposed plan to enforce the rule, which would see non-compliant trucks denied entry onto the international terminals by the marine terminal operators, saying replacement trucks are costly and not a cause of major pollution.

On Facebook page PierTrucker, the drivers share the open letter to NWSA in which they stated “if we are forced to get newer equipment, you may be facing a huge class action lawsuit very soon from any side of the lane.

“since you tried to implement a fully unlawful mandate on the truckers about replacing their trucks for a newer models, nothing but discontent, frustration and plain anger against you is growing…”

Questioning pollution

The letter goes on to say that running the newer truck models is expensive and “your claim about reducing the harmful micro particles of the dangerous truck fumes has no base nor any credible documentations besides the so called “studies” you have conducted,” adding that trains, cargo vessels and cranes are all producing more pollution and asking whether they too will be asked to replace equipment.

As part of the Clean Truck Programme and Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy, the NWSA, a marine cargo operating partnership formed by the ports of Tacoma and Seattle, adopted a goal to have 100% of the drayage trucks serving container terminals with cleaner diesel technology – a 2007 engine with diesel particulate filter or equivalent.

In 2010 all trucks hit a target to be at least a model year 1994 or newer, but a 1 January deadline to have all truck engines 2007 or newer was not met, with 53% of the roughly 4,500 trucks serving NWSA terminals meeting this standard. 1 April was proposed as a revised deadline.

NWSA told Port Strategy: “NWSA staff briefed our Managing Members on a recommendation to grant a 90-day grace period, effectively making the new deadline April 1. The Managing Members are scheduled to consider that recommendation at their Feb. 6 meeting.

“In the meantime, we have scheduled Feb. 3 open houses in Seattle and Tacoma to provide resources to help truck owners comply with the 2007 engine standard.”

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