Port Shows Off Carbon Savers

Port Shows Off Carbon Savers
A hydrogen fuel-cell rubber-tired gantry crane at the Port of Los Angeles.

The Port of Los Angeles was the site of a pair of developments last week that are designed to help move the needle toward decarbonization efforts at the complex.

Paceco Corp. officially put its hydrogen fuel-cell rubber-tired gantry crane into commercial operations at the port on Tuesday after unveiling the machine last month. And Amazon rolled out its largest fleet of battery-electric heavy-duty trucks, with some slated for use at the Port of L.A. and neighboring Port of Long Beach, to haul cargo back and forth from the ports to an Amazon warehouse in Santa Fe Springs.

The crane, known as the H2-ZE RTG Transtainer Crane, was developed by Hayward-based Paceco and Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding. It represents the first such crane to hit the market, showcasing that there are options for transitioning one of the largest pieces of equipment at any port away from diesel.

“By bringing the H2-ZE RTG Transtainer Crane into operation, we are not just introducing new fuel technology for cranes, but are leading the way for our industry to reduce emissions significantly,” said Troy Collard, general manager of sales at Paceco. “We are excited that this crane is in operation here in Los Angeles and are thankful to our pilot partners for all of their support throughout the process.”

Rubber-tired gantry cranes are among the tallest structures at ports, distinguished by their four columns on massive tires that support a crane that retrieves and maneuvers shipping containers. Typical diesel-powered cranes emit the carbon dioxide equivalent of more than 400 barrels of oil per year, Paceco said, while hydrogen-powered engines emit nothing but water vapor.

The crane will operate for a four-year pilot test period at Yusen Terminals in the Port of L.A. for as many as 16 hours at a time.

Meanwhile, Amazon on Wednesday showcased its 50-truck fleet of electric class 9 semi-tractors, produced by Volvo Trucks. Eight will be based at the San Pedro Bay port complex, joining other companies that have begun the transition into zero-emissions drayage trucks.

“We are locking arms with our partners in the private sector, which we know is required to confront the climate crisis, eliminate emissions from the transportation sector and boost our local economy,” said L.A. Mayor Karen Bass during the event, which was held in Wilmington. “Air pollution has long impacted our port-adjacent communities here in Wilmington, Harbor City and San Pedro, not to mention all our neighbors in Long Beach and along the 710 freeway. Today, we continue to change that impact with a significant down-payment in the clean-goods movement thanks to our private partners coming together to invest in and advance new technology.”

The Volvo VNR Electric trucks have a listed range of 275 miles and can reach 80% of battery capacity with a 90-minute charge.

In related recent news, Maersk drivers using battery-electric semis produced by Swedish firm Einride are now using a 65-port charging hub in Lynwood. Similar to the Amazon trucks, these Maersk vehicles are mainly shuffling containers between the ports and their clients’ warehouses in the Inland Empire.

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