Prime Mover Magazine

Local government leaders push for cleaner trucks at Fremantle Port

A plan to develop a Port accreditation system at Fremantle by three councils has been tabled as a way to fast track cleaner freight initiatives.

City of Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt, Melville Mayor George Gear and East Fremantle Mayor Jim O’Neill, acting on feedback by disgruntled residents, are pushing for stricter controls on the types of trucks allowed along the Fremantle Port freight link where screeching brakes, exhaust fumes and congestion on roads at peak times was commonplace.

In addition to restricting access to older, dirtier trucks, the mayors are calling for State Government incentives for clean, quiter trucks and ultimately a zero emissions truck fleet based on hydrogen and electric vehicles.

This includes having the Government work with industry to incentivise quieter trucks to operate outside of business and especially peak hours.

Taking a leaf out of the zero emission zone pioneered at the Port of Los Angeles in Long Beach, the intent is to reduce the effects of noise and diesel pollution on local residents by capping freight volumes and ensuring only cleaner and quieter trucks can access the port.

In an issued statement the three mayors said they would ideally like to see a working group comprising Fremantle Ports, Main Roads, the Freight Logistics Council, Western Roads Federation, Transport Workers Union, and local councils form a working party that can make recommendations to State Government on the best approach.

A key focus would be encouraging freight operators to upgrade to cleaner, more modern trucks rated at least to Euro 6 emission control standards and ultimately electric and hydrogen vehicles.

Brad Pettitt said delivering cleaner freight initiatives should happen whatever the outcomes of the impending Westport Taskforce Report on the future of Fremantle Port, as it would deliver great benefits.

“Regardless of what happens with the port in the long-term, we all want to see greater productivity, better efficiency and less community impact of freight movements to and from Fremantle,” he said.

“Trucks that are quieter, cleaner, more efficient and can carry full loads would enable a more efficient utilisation of the road network, delivering improved operating efficiencies and reducing impact on local residents and the environment," said Pettitt.

“There are plenty of examples around Australia and the world where this has happened to great effect. It really is a no brainer for our community.”

Initial ideas floated under the proposed initiative involved limiting truck movements during commute times, with smoother freight runs encouraged through green light coordination on Leach Highway.

All trucks, eventually, would be required to have exhaust gas recirculation technology.

With nearly half the commercial vehicles operating in Australian cities built prior to 1996, trucks lacking modern pollution control technology were now over represented on local roads. 

The World Health Organisation has identified air and noise pollution as a potential cause of heart disease and hearing loss.

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