Did you know that the logistics industry “accounts for the largest share of the nation’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with the U.S. freight emissions on track to increase nearly 40% over the next two decades” (Ricks). Each different mode of transportation emits different amounts of emissions. Rail emits the least at 23 grams per ton-mile, and no surprise that aircrafts emit a whopping 1,3087 grams per ton-mile. However, in this article the focus is the medium to heavy duty trucks which emit 202 grams per ton-mile. (Ricks).
The road to a cleaner and greener planet is one that affects all living beings on the earth. Laws and regulations are being implemented to ensure better air quality. The more luxurious electric cars like Teslas are in higher demand each year. However, there are some vehicles that continue to use carbon emissions due to the long haul and limited “recharge” time.
California is one of states trailblazing the emissions rules and regulations. However, although intentions are pure, the proposed rules and regulations could have a large negative side effect on warehouses putting a strain on the essential transportation and logistics industry. The rule in question is “the ‘indirect source’ rule drafted by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD)” (Baker). If the rule is approved, it “would require warehouse operators to either take steps to reduce emissions, such as transition to electric trucks, or pay a fee to the air quality agency” (Baker).
However, it is important to note that “’The vast majority of warehouses have no control over what type of trucks are brought in… so they don’t have any authority to take any actions to decrease truck emissions” (Baker). Requiring the warehouse to pay the fee would be a drastic warehouse regulation as, “typically 90% plus” when looking at emissions related to a warehouse “comes from trucks” (Baker). In addition, “a greater burden [would fall] on warehouses that host heavy truck activity” as they would be required to “meet various reporting requirements, including detailing the number of trucks that go in and out of their facilities” (Baker).
Since the warehouses have no control over the types of trucks that are brought in, but would be required to pay the penalty, the issue becomes economic. Where will that extra money for the fee come from? Will the shipper cover it, the 3PL that covered the load with the truck, the driver, or will the warehouse eat the cost? In a time as uncertain as now, everyone is doing their best to cut costs wherever possible. Therefore, if only effective in California, warehouses may research the opportunity to move to another state, if commodity allows. As far as the potential time frame, “if the rule is approved this spring, the first reporting requirements for larger warehouses could take effect in 2022, according to the draft proposal” (Baker). As always, lawmakers are trying to “thread [the] needle between a policy that does not violate interstate commerce rules or South Coast powers” (Baker).
A cleaner earth will benefit all living beings, however the changes made must ensure that industries can still be sustained and not negatively rock the already fragile economy trying to recover from COVID.
Baker, Linda. “California’s Road to Reducing Truck Emissions Runs through Warehouses.” FreightWaves, 18 Jan. 2021, www.freightwaves.com/news/truck-emissions-rule-targets-warehouse-operators.
Ricks, Emily. “Daily Infographic: One Mile of Emissions.” FreightWaves, 25 Aug. 2020, www.freightwaves.com/news/daily-infographic-one-mile-of-emissions.