East Coast ports offering drayage truck replacement assistance

Since port truck replacement programs are in the news this week, it seems fitting that one program, along the Mid-Atlantic region, is forming.

Four states (Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, and Pennsylvania) have joined forces with the University of Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Air Management Association (MARAMA) to create a new program designed to assist truck operators working in drayage operations in replacing their older trucks.

“We no longer want our ports to be the place where old trucks go to die,” says Joanne Throwe, the director of the University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center, which is coordinating the new effort. “It’s not just the air around the port that suffers – it’s the routes the trucks follow throughout the region.”

The plan is to offer truckers working in the ports of Baltimore, Virginia, Wilmington, and Philadelphia up to $15,000 to serve as a down-payment on the purchase of a cleaner-emissions truck. The new truck must by 2007 model year or newer. Preference is being given to owners of trucks with model year 1997 engines and older. The money would be funded through the Mid-Atlantic Dray Truck Replacement Program, with that organization also helping arrange financing, no small task for any small business owner these days.

The group is trying to supplement a $3.3 million base grant from the EPA with private industry dollars to further expand the program.

“This is a great example of how a government and industry partnership should work. The program goals are admirable - reducing emissions from mobile sources at the Mid-Atlantic ports to promote clean air for everyone’s benefit - and the government is giving private industry the tools needed to achieve those objectives,” says Louis Campion, president of the Maryland Motor Truck Association.

Throwe says the group is hoping to raise an additional $1.5 million in public and private money. More than $400,000 has been committed so far.

“Businesses along the supply chain understand that they and their employees benefit by maintaining as clean a footprint as possible,” says Throwe. “Helping truck drivers - mainly from small businesses - to afford cleaner, greener trucks is a goal the private sector can embrace.”

And based on the experience at the Port of Virginia, which was running its own program, there is plenty of interest in such a program. Virginia says it has waiting list of 150 applicants. More than 75 truckers in Baltimore have expressed interest as well.

For more information on the program, click here.

For information on the ports of Baltimore and Virginia, contact Megan Hughes at 301-405-4035 or via email at mhughes3@umd.edu.

For information on the ports of Wilmington and Philadelphia, contact Jennifer Cotting at 301-405-5495 or via email at jcotting@umd.edu.

To download application forms, click the following links:

Port of Virginia

Port of Baltimore

Port of Wilmington

Port of Philadelphia

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