California’s Sustainable Freight Action Plan

Jacqueline Mullin

Soon California will have a new comprehensive and sustainable freight action plan. Parts of the plan were first made public in early spring (2016) and over the last couple of months truckers have been able to take a closer look at the strategy focusing on freight efficiency.

Spearheaded by California Governor Edmund G. (“Jerry”) Brown, Jr., the California Sustainable Freight Action Plan involves a number of state departments and was developed with input from seven state agencies. The overall goal of the Plan is to reduce the environmental impact of California’s freight system while increasing its revenue but the importance of the strategy doesn’t stop there. The Plan’s ambitious goals follow on the heals of previously enacted executive orders which set a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below levels recorded in 1990. The target for achieving this goal is 2030.

California’s sustainable freight strategy was issued as Executive Order B-32-15. Comprised of a number of individual actionable items pertaining to specific elements of the freight industry, the strategy focuses on system efficiency and the desire to switch to zero emission technologies. It also highlights three potential pilot projects.

As reported in industry trade publications, switching to zero emission technologies is an idea that has yet to be tested on the road but looks to Class 8 electric trucks as an alternative to traditional diesel engines. A change such as this would allow for an immediate success addressing the goal of greenhouse gas reduction.

Developing a viable commercial-scale dairy biogas to biomethane industry is one of the pilot projects included in California’s Sustainable Freight Action Plan. By embracing the opportunity to utilize dairy biogas for fuelling California’s freight system, the State is not only furthering Executive Order B-32-15 but also addressing the issue of greenhouse gas emissions produced by local dairy farms.

Creating a sustainable and efficient freight system in California “builds upon ongoing efforts to modernize the freight industry while reducing emissions and keeping it competitive through commercially viable and affordable technologies” said Mike Rossi, senior jobs advisor to Governor Brown told trucking info recently.

Implementing the Plan will have its challenges, but ultimately the successful creation and adoption of an environmentally sustainable and economically successful freight strategy is a win for the freight industry, the government and the citizens of California.