GSC attended DrayTECH 2023 in support of the Harbor Trucking Association (HTA). GSC has attended many DrayTECHs throughout the years, and this one did not disappoint. There are many pivotal topics in the industry currently. A big theme of this year’s conference was sustainability, with nearly half of the vendors hoping to help ease the trucking association’s journey to clean fleet requirements.
Here are some topics discussed at this year’s DrayTECH sessions:
Shipping Volumes Shift from West Coast to East Coast
During the ILWU Contract and Cargo Diversion Update session with Bill Mongelluzzo, who is a Senior Editor with the Journal of Commerce, we learned a lot about the balance of cargo between the West and East Coasts. Shipping volumes on the West Coast previously comprised 80 percent of the U.S. volume; now West Coast ports have approximately 56 percent of the volume. The shift in import volumes to the East Coast is a complex issue. The ports along the West Coast have seen operational challenges over the past few years. According to the session, the supply chain stress test and congested ports during the pandemic played a part. We all remember seeing the pictures and news of the congestion of ocean carriers at various ports a couple of years ago; however, there have been other operating challenges. The pending ILWU contract—which is now almost a year expired, adds another complexity to the situation. The industry on all sides of the aisle is hoping for a contract agreement soon for the betterment of all of us working together. With these notes regarding operational challenges, the panelist did note we’re starting to see some of the cargo volume return to the West Coast and hope to see a more considerable uptick here.
Updates on Advanced Clean Fleets
In a session covering the California Regulatory Update, Matt Schrap, the CEO of the HTA covered the considerations we’ve heard across the industry regarding California’s regulations. While great for the environment, the zero-emission environmental regulations pose some challenges for industry adoption. The panelists highlighted how the charging infrastructure isn’t there yet. Without public truck charging stations, it will be hard for the trucking industry to operate efficiently. Beyond the infrastructure constraints, there is a multi-faceted carrier constraint. New electric trucks can cost upwards of $400,000, and many smaller carriers cannot afford the upgrade. We’re also seeing new vendors and companies emerge hoping to help finance the electric fleets. Additionally, more sustainable efforts and vendors were present at this year’s DrayTECH than ever before. As an industry, we’re working hard to come together to help everyone transition with these pending requirements.
The Clean Truck Check
Separate from Advance Clean Fleets, there is also a consideration for carriers regarding emission monitoring requirements. Similar to a smog check (the environmental emissions check in California required for personal vehicles), carriers and larger carriers with fleets will be required to test every truck in their fleet twice a year starting in 2024. In 2023, all heavy-duty vehicle owners will have to pay a compliance fee of $30 per truck per year, and testing will be based on when the registration expires. After the first three years, by 2027, the trucking fleets will need to be tested four times a year. This is another incentive from California to move trucking fleets from diesel to electric equipment.
Overall, it was another successful DrayTECH full of great conversation on how the industry can come together to meet requirements, ease operational efficiencies, and more. GSC is a long-standing member of the HTA and is excited about the support and educational resources the association provides to the community.
Want to learn more about what GSC does? Check out our services and solutions here.