The recent LA Times article, LA, Long Beach ports losing to rivals amid struggle with giant ships, has very concerning news on the impacts of West Coast port congestion and the unintended consequences of having better air pollution controls at California ports than on the East Coast.
It is refreshing to see a major news organization identify fundamental logistics issues related to mega-ships, rather than port workers, as the root cause of congestion at California ports.
However, it’s disheartening to see port congestion contributing to the shift of some California-bound Asian ocean freight shipments to East Coast ports. This is a loss for the U.S and the world. with additional miles of ocean shipping and over-the-road trucking added to get an item to California.
This transportation inefficiency does real damage to the world – burning more diesel fuel, damaging public health, and speeding the pace of global warming.
And it is distressing to see environmental protections put in place to protect the health of Californians, such as cleaner trucks, tagged as contributing to this shift from West Coast to East Coast ports.
My takeaway – to improve public health and rationalize shipping decisions, the Federal government should implement the same protections at all U.S. ports.
Overburdened communities around the Ports of New York and New Jersey, Houston, Savannah, and other ports have as much right not to be poisoned by toxic diesel exhaust as those around the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
And we and our descendants have the right to live in a world not destroyed by global warming.
To make this happen, we need Zero Emission trucks and handling equipment at all U.S. ports – a solution available today. Stay tuned for more on that subject.
For more on the Moving Forward Network’s call to clean up U.S. ports and rail yards, read the blog post by Melissa Lin Perrella of the NRDC: