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December 3, 2007 9:00 AM, EST

SoCal Ports Set Emissions Reduction Plan

Southern California’s ports are about to begin a multibillion-dollar program that is being watched all over the world to repair, replace or clean up engines to reduce pollution, the New York Times reported Monday.

The state is extending its official reach into shipping, one of the hardest-to-regulate industries, to reduce that local officials say causes health problems, and the shipping industry, with few alternatives, appears ready to cooperate, the Times reported.

Starting next Sept. 30, the adjacent ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles will bar any truck built before 1989, and by 2012, any truck built before 2007, the paper said.

The ports are magnets for older trucks, sold off by major carriers as they become unreliable, that run routes of just between the ports and distribution centers, the Times reported.

The sister ports are served by about 16,000 trucks, mostly owned by their drivers, with about 2,000 to 3,000 of them built before 1989, the year more modern equipment first began to appear on trucks, the paper reported.

The plan is not restricted to trucks — at the Long Beach port, BP is preparing to plug in a 6,000-volt extension cord to feed incoming tankers, each of which uses electricity to unload its cargo, the Times said. At the Port of L.A., several container ships are already powered from shore sources.

The two ports make up the largest port complex in the United States.