Observations and musings on Jacksonville Politics

Good timing for the City and Jaxport

Jaxport has inked the deal with Hanjin, and the Mitsui buildings are nearly complete. Mayor John Peyton is busy begging for federal dollars to build alot of roads for all the trucks expected at Jaxport.  In the meantime, a rail line is available to ship containers out on.  All of these have one thing in common – diesel exhaust. 

Diesel exhaust comes from ships, trucks, trains, and loading dock equipment.  According to a TU article today, a recent national study has shown that the incidence of lung cancer has risen each year in truckers, dock workers and others exposed to diesel exhaust.  

The findings represent a greater concern for Northeast Florida, where trucking and logistics represent a larger share of the job market than in the rest of the state or the nation. A little more than 10,000 people in metropolitan Jacksonville worked in truck transportation last year, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated.

That number will have to grow significantly to accommodate new trade connections to Asia.

According to an American Trucking Association spokesman, clean trucks to be built in 2010 will release about 90% fewer emissions than a truck built in 2001.  That’s good news.  However, with new semi truck prices ranging in the tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands dollars, somehow, I don’t see a rush for everyone to go out and buy a new semi.  And ships and trains don’t have to cut their diesel emissions until 2030 under EPA rules. 

So why is this good timing? 

It gives the City and Jaxport the opportunity and time to consider new regulations – perhaps like those recently passed in California – such as the Clean Ports program and Clean Trucks program.  The Clean Ports program  provides incentives to ships to use cleaner burning fuels.  Under the Clean Trucks program, on October 1, 2008, the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports began banning the most polluting trucks, the 1988 and older vehicles.  On January 1, 2010, the ports will ban 1993 and older trucks, and un-retrofitted model year 1994 to 2003 trucks. By January 2012, nearly the entire truck fleet serving the ports — all vehicles 2006 and older will be banned.  The ports levy fees on loaded containers in order to finance the truck replacement and retrofitting program. 

In addition, some ports are providing dockside power so that ships and trucks do not have to  remain under their own power while idling in port.  In fact, that technology has already been demonstrated to Mitsui at the Port of Los Angeles. 

Maybe for once, Jacksonville can be a step ahead of the curve.


* A tip of the hat to Save Mayport Fishing Village for information on diesel exhaust issues.


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