Ken Franke, chairman, and Sharon Cloward, president, San Diego Port Tenants Association; Rafael Castellanos, chairman, and Randa Coniglio, CEO, Port of San Diego; Sarah Marsh, Dole Fresh Fruit terminal manager; Janea Scott, commissioner, California Energy Commission; and Mitch Mitchell, VP, state governmental affairs and external affairs, SDG&E; participated in the celebration. | Courtesy Port of San Diego

SD Cargo Terminal Gains “Green” Freight Vehicles

Carrie Rossenfeld Industrial

The Port of San Diego and the San Diego Port Tenants Association held a special event Thursday at the Port’s Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal in San Diego to celebrate the deployment of new sustainable-freight vehicles by Dole Fresh Fruit at the Port’s cargo terminal. The vehicles were funded by a $5.9 million grant from the California Energy Commission that was awarded to the San Diego Port Tenants Association.

Powered by electricity, the new semi-trucks and fork lifts will help reduce air emissions by replacing gasoline and diesel-powered cargo-handling equipment at the Port of San Diego. The vehicles are also much quieter than their conventional counterparts, according to the Port.

Speakers at the event included Kevin Faulconer, mayor, City of San Diego; Rafael Castellanos, chairman, Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners; Deanna Spehn, policy director, Office of Senate president pro tempore Toni Atkins; Janea Scott, commissioner, California Energy Commission; Ken Franke, chairman, San Diego Port Tenants Association; Sarah Marsh, Dole Fresh Fruit terminal manager; and Mitch Mitchell, VP, state governmental affairs and external affairs, SDG&E.

“The San Diego region is known worldwide for its innovation and the Port of San Diego is demonstrating leadership in the maritime industrial sector with these sustainable-freight vehicles,” said Mayor Faulconer at the event. “I want to thank and recognize the San Diego Port Tenants Association for its teamwork in securing this important grant funding to assist five local businesses in operating cleaner and greener.”

The Port says it is committed to clean technology as part of being a 21st-Century port, and Port businesses are industry leaders in deploying zero-emissions freight vehicles. Dole Fresh Fruit, a division of Dole Food Company, recently received the two new pieces of innovative sustainable-freight vehicles that will be used at its location at the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal.

The California Energy Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program awarded $5.9 million to the San Diego Port Tenants Association to demonstrate a total of 10 electric vehicles, as well as intelligent transportation systems, at the Port. The program, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, supports development and deployment of advanced transportation and fuel technologies throughout California.

The electric semi-trucks and fork lifts will be demonstrated at five Port businesses: Dole Fresh Fruit, Marine Group Boat Works, Pasha Automotive Group, TerminaLift, and Continental Maritime. The goal is for this demonstration project to encourage more maritime industrial businesses to adopt these clean transportation technologies, and to help manufacturers bring down the cost of zero-emissions vehicles.

These new freight vehicles will help the Port meet its goals for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, implementing a Climate Action Plan adopted by the Port of San Diego in 2013. The vehicles and equipment are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 940 metric tons over the lifetime of the project. The Port of San Diego is in alignment with the State of California’s goals to reduce petroleum use and deploy cleaner freight vehicles and equipment.

The new battery-powered electric trucks were manufactured and assembled by BYD in Lancaster, California. Other partners in the demonstration are Efficient Drivetrains Inc. from Milpitas, California; and Transportation Power Inc. from Escondido, California, which are taking unpowered original-equipment manufacturer vehicles and making them battery-electric. The ITS technologies being demonstrated are platooning and freight signal priority, both of which are currently under construction by Peloton Technology, LLC, out of Mountain View, California.

Including the two latest arrivals, there are currently a total of nine innovative sustainable-freight vehicles now in use within the Port of San Diego. Additional sustainable-freight vehicles funded by the California Energy Commission grant will be delivered later this year to various Port tenants.

“The California Energy Commission is proud to work with the San Diego Port Tenants Association and its partners to support the Port of San Diego’s transition to advanced, zero-emissions transportation technology,” Scott said at the event. “With the help of an almost $6 million grant from the Energy Commission, this project will offer multiple port tenants the opportunity to see how zero-emission technology can improve the efficiency of their operations while supporting the climate goals of the state and port and improving air quality at the port and in the surrounding community. It’s a win on multiple fronts.”

Mitchell pointed out, “Electric vehicles and equipment are only a viable option if there is sufficient charging infrastructure to support them, if drivers and businesses aren’t held back by range anxiety. SDG&E is committed to partnering with local organizations like the Port and Port Tenants Association to build the necessary infrastructure to power everything from trucks and refrigerated trailers to passenger cars and buses.