Q: What is the outlook for cargo volumes for the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma?
A: All of the shipping lines in the North America trade already call at either Seattle or Tacoma and both ports are committed to making the Puget Sound a more competitive gateway for cargo and to increasing volume. While both Seattle and Tacoma combined have lost market share compared to other regions, Seattle’s focus is to increase existing business by attracting larger ships and more cargo.
Q: What is the outlook for making Terminal 5 big ship ready?
A: The Port of Seattle Commission authorized the permitting and design phase of the T5 modernization project on June 3, 2014. Terminal 5 cargo handling is currently being shifted to Terminal 18 to pave the way for the project
Q: Is Seattle seeing a decline in import or export cargo?
A: Seattle’s year over year volumes have been affected by the withdrawal of the PS1 service and all types of cargo are showing a decline. Volume statistics are published monthly on the port's website here.
Q: Why did the Grand Alliance leave Seattle? Did the trucking strike affect their decision?
A: There were a number of factors involved in the Grand Alliance decision to move to Tacoma. In general, shipping lines seek the most cost effective solutions with the least amount of uncertainty. The timing of the trucking strike in 2012 was not helpful in Seattle’s effort to retain this business.
Q: Are slow turn times at Seattle terminals contributing to cargo loss?
A: Ports along the west coast are facing challenges handling larger volumes of cargo, in particular Southern California and Vancouver, B.C. In contrast, Seattle and Tacoma are much less congested and this is actually a selling point in attracting more cargo to the region. Seattle’s turn times on the terminals average less than 30 minutes (calculated from the pedestal at the entry gate until the time the truck exits the terminal). Gate queues fluctuate based on time of day and day of week with ship arrival days seeing the most activity.
Q: How can truck turn times be improved?
A: The port and terminal operators are committed to operational efficiency which is why terminal operators make adjustments as volumes change. Some queuing is unavoidable, especially around opening, lunch breaks, and days with more ship activity. Drivers can help avoid delays caused by trouble tickets by ensuring all paperwork, booking numbers and other transactional details are correct before entering the terminal.
Q: What can Seattle do to increase overnight parking for trucks?
A: Off street overnight parking in Seattle is limited. The Port provides a free lot for up to 125 trucks at Terminal 25 South and we understand additional parking is needed. There have been discussions with the City of Seattle to work on increasing available truck parking. Overnight truck parking is available at rest areas and truck stops near Seattle and Tacoma. Trucks should not park near residential areas.
Q: Why are law enforcement officials increasing their truck inspections?
A: Drivers can avoid violations by ensuring that their vehicles meet safety and maintenance standards and by following safety rules, such as wearing seatbelts, using hands-free communications while driving, obeying traffic signals and not blocking intersections. On occasion, the Washington State Patrol trains new cadets performs those inspections near Port terminals. The Port of Seattle will hold a free Truck Safety Fair for drivers on 8/13 near Terminal 5. The clinic will offer free inspections and an opportunity to talk to enforcement officers.
Q. Why are ScRAPS 2 funds so limited?
A: The current grants available will cover approximately 180 trucks at $20,000 per truck. The port is seeking additional funding to extend the program and include more trucks.
Q. How much funding is currently available for ScRAPS 2 and what are the sources?
A: The Port of Seattle currently has a total of $4.7 million which includes:
- $3.5 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation
- $500,000 from the Washington State Department of Ecology
- $700,000 from the Port of Seattle
- In addition, the EPA has awarded the port $1.2 million to scrap an additional 40 trucks. The grant agreement and procedures are still being finalized. The incentives will cover 50% of the cost of a replacement truck up to a maximum of $30,000. The port hopes to begin offering incentives under this grant in late summer and a waiting list has been established. To get on the waiting list, visit the ScRAPS 2 office in person.
- Additionally, the port has been offered supplemental funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation for an additional 19 trucks, available in 2015. The grant agreement and procedures are still being finalized.
Q. How much will a replacement truck cost?
A: A truck with a 2007 engine (typically a 2008 model-year truck) may cost $40,000 to $60,000. A truck with a 2010 engine (typically a 2011 model-year truck) may cost $70,000 to $90,000. The ScRAPS 2 program is designed to provide a portion of the replacement cost.
Q. What do I need in order to apply?
A: Review the first page of the ScRAPS 2 application packet for what to bring. If you do not bring all required items on the first trip a file can be started, but the application will not be complete until all requirements have been met. After you have submitted all application materials, you should hear back from the ScRAPS Office within two weeks.
Q. Will the requirements for the ScRAPS 2 program change?
A: Some elements of the program are mandated by grant requirements and, once in place, cannot be changed. Future grants could mean changes to the program requirements and those changes will be announced on the port’s web site, via email, and at the ScRAPS office. Adjustments, if necessary, could include:
- Length of time to find a replacement truck
- Trip frequency requirement
- The number of company-owned trucks a company can scrap and replace
- Documentation requirements
- ScRAPS office business hours
Q. Why don’t the drivers with the oldest trucks get top priority for ScRAPS 2 incentives?
A: Giving a higher priority to older trucks would not significantly reduce air emissions. The trucks serving port terminals (1994 engines) produce about the same amount of diesel particulate matter (DPM) as 2006 model-year trucks. The port is prioritizing by frequent callers, those with 200 or more visits over the past year.
Q. What is needed to verify that my business is a “trucking company”?
A: A trucking company must have a valid business license as a commercial carrier.
Q. What if I have a gap in work history at the Port of Seattle or owned more than one truck in the past year?
A: You may be eligible if you can demonstrate 12 months of service in the recent past with good reason for the gap in service or change in trucks. Include a letter of explanation with your application.
Q. Can I install a retrofit or use other types of fuel to qualify for the ScRAPS 2 program?
A: Qualified options include compressed and liquefied natural gas trucks with 2007 or newer engines. Exhaust retrofits, such as diesel particulate filters (DPFs), are not acceptable. As new technologies emerge, the Port may identify additional options that are equivalent to the 2007 heavy duty diesel emission standards.
Q. Can I install a diesel particulate filter (DPF) or other type of emission control to meet the requirements?
A: No. Retrofitting older trucks with emission controls such as DPFs does not work effectively under typical drayage conditions. Trucks with 2007 and newer engines come with built-in DPFs that are matched to the engine and other components. Trucks with 2010 or newer engines have more advanced emission controls built in, such as selective catalytic regeneration (SCR) systems.
Q. Am I eligible for the ScRAPS 2 program if my truck doesn’t run?
A: No. Trucks must be in operating condition and have some remaining useful life in order to qualify.
Q. Can I remove parts from my old truck before I scrap it?
A: The only items that can be removed from the old truck before scrapping are radios, refrigerators, microwaves, lift axles and the four inside tires on the rear axles. Additionally, aluminum wheels can be replaced with steel wheels.
Q. Can I be reimbursed under ScRAPS 2 for a truck I buy from a private party or at auction?
A: No. The ScRAPS 2 Program was not designed as a rebate program. There is significant risk to a truck owner in ensuring that a truck purchased on-the-spot meets program requirements. A simple visual inspection will not reveal whether emission controls are functioning, and engine model years may not be easy to ascertain.
Trucks must be purchased from a participating ScRAPS 2 dealer to ensure that grant program requirements and Puget Sound Clean Air Agency’s procurement policies are met. Dealerships are regulated by state law and a qualified dealer must be a licensed dealer in good standing. Licensed dealers ensure that sales tax and licensing regulations are met, and that the trucks offered for sale are DOT-certified.
Additionally, as a ScRAPS 2 participating dealer, they must certify that the truks offered for sale meet requirements for engine-year, mileage, and Buy America and have operating emission control systems that have been recently cleaned.
Q: Why do trucks need to be purchased through a participating dealer?
A: The program was designed to ensure that truck owners buy a truck that meets program requirements, that the old truck is scrapped and new truck purchased with minimal time delays and in a manner that safeguards truck owner interests and prevents fraud.
This project design and incentive level has been approved by the granting agencies. The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, under contract to the Port, has agreed to advance the funds to the participating dealers as a courtesy to eligible truck purchasers.
There are currently 15 participating dealers and the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA) is working to recruit more. Dealerships, once they have signed a contract with PSCAA, can be added to the list at any time and can be located anywhere in the U.S.
Q. With so few participating dealers, will truck prices rise?
A: The port and PSCAA do not have control over truck pricing; however, if you believe dealers are unfairly raising the price, you may report it to the ScRAPS 2 office. If we determine that their pricing is unfair, we may eliminate them from the list. Participating dealers receive no compensation from PSCAA or the port.
Q. What is “Buy America”? Why do eligible trucks need to be assembled in the U.S.?
A: One of the grants funding the current round of the ScRAPS 2 program is from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). Buy America is a federal law designed to protect American jobs and businesses. It requires that certain materials and equipment paid for by USDOT be made from steel and iron produced in the U.S. and that the completed products be made in the U.S.
Traditionally, USDOT grant funds have been used primarily for road and bridge construction that use large amounts of steel and iron. Within the last year or so, USDOT has tightened its Buy America requirements in response to federal transportation laws. For trucks, this means that they have to roll off an assembly line in the U.S.
Q. How will Buy America requirements affect cost and availability of trucks?
A: Based on conversations with dealers, manufacturers and the City of Tacoma ScRAPS project, it appears that about 40-65% of trucks are assembled in the U.S. There are seven truck manufacturing companies with factories in the U.S. This is one reason we are allowing 60 days for ScRAPS 2 participants to find a replacement truck. We will monitor truck prices throughout the country to see if the Buy America requirement affects prices.
Trip Frequency Requirements
Q. Why is there a 200 truck trip per year requirement?
A: Prioritizing frequent callers will have the greatest impact in reducing air emissions. The port has defined frequent callers as those making 200 trips per year. About 25% of the trucks in Seattle’s drayage truck registry call at least 200 times per year and represent about 75% of Seattle’s drayage truck trips.
Q. How is the 200 trip frequency tracked and verified?
A: The “affidavit of operation” in the application packet is filled out by the company you haul for and documents the number of trips your truck has made to the Port of Seattle. The dispatcher may have the records. You may also have pay stubs or other sources of the information. The port will use RFID data to verify the affidavit. The only terminals that qualify are T5, T18, T30 and T46.
Q. How can I verify the trips if I’ve worked for multiple companies or driven different trucks?
A: If you’ve worked for multiple companies, you will need to submit a separate affidavit for each company. Be sure to ask them to indicate on the form what time period it represents.
Drivers with a documented history of serving Port of Seattle terminals for at least 12 months may be eligible. When applying, include a letter explaining the circumstances that resulted is not making the required number of trips in a single truck over the past 12 months. Each situation will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
Q. If I stop working at the Port of Seattle, will I lose my new truck?
A: The port will not take the truck but it could ask the owner to pay back the incentive. The replacement truck needs to have at least four years of remaining useful life. This is a standard requirement for government grants for replacement vehicles. That is why we have set a 750,000 mile cap on the mileage of the replacement truck.
The replacement truck should be used to haul containers more than half of the time in state of Washington, and at the Port of Seattle at a frequency of 200 trips per year. The requirement for a 2007 engine goes into effect in 2018 and we want the cleaner trucks to last far beyond that date.
Truck owners will be required to notify the port if they cannot meet the 4-year commitment to operate their replacement truck at Port of Seattle. The port, in consultation with the granting agencies, will determine the level of reimbursement by considering factors such as, but not limited to:
- Is the truck still operating within Washington State? What percent of time?
- Was the truck significantly damaged? Were engine repairs needed? Was the cost of repairs greater than the value of the truck?
- Was the reason for not continuing to operate in Washington due to reasons beyond of the control of the truck owner (such as low shipping activity, or a family matter)?