Puget Sound Zero-Emissions Truck Collaborative Launched

A driver with a zero-emissions drayage truck. Photo via Northwest Seaport Alliance.

For the first time ever, the Puget Sound Zero-Emissions Truck Collaborative recently convened more than two dozen trucking firms, warehousers and other industry stakeholders to in an effort to create a plan to transition to zero-emission drayage trucking in the Puget Sound region by 2050.

The initial gathering was announced by the Northwest Seaport Alliance, the marine cargo operating partnership between the Seattle and Tacoma seaports, on June 30.

The collaborative, which is expected to meet bi-monthly until December 2024, is tasked with creating a Decarbonizing Drayage Roadmap, a blueprint for maximizing new opportunities such as government funding increases and dealing with specific challenges.

The challenges, according to NWSA, include the high cost of zero-emission trucks and lack of charging and fueling infrastructure.

“The formation of this collaborative is another significant step in our journey to achieve sustainable and resilient port operations,” NWSA Co-Chair Sam Cho said in a statement. “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 seaport alliance depends on a network of about 4,500 heavy-duty trucks that move cargo to and from terminals in Seattle and Tacoma, nearly all of which are diesel-powered rigs operated by small or very small trucking companies.

The drayage trucks produce emissions that affect air quality in near-port communities and contribute to climate change.

In 2021, the commissioners of the ports of Seattle and Tacoma agreed to adopt the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy to phase out port-related emissions by 2050. 

“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,” NWSA Co-Chair Deanna Keller said. “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.”