Study finds that by 2035, a 50 percent penetration of electric drayage trucks for near-dock and off-dock service in the LA-area would reduce GHG emissions by 30 percent.

Combined with increased renewable penetration, electric drayage trucks could be one piece of a comprehensive sustainable freight system in California.

Los Angeles,California,United States

Summary Information

The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach (POLA/LB) account for a significant percentage of diesel particulate matter and NOx emissions within the South Coast Basin. POLA/LB’s 2010 Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP) outlined several goals under technology advancement including achieving higher efficiency and zero emissions through the utilization of Zero Emissions Container Movement and Zero Emissions Drayage Trucks (ZEDTs).

A study out of the University of California, Davis looked at evaluating emissions reductions that would result from the adoption of electric drayage trucks over a period from 2015 - 2035 and assessed how performance-based regulation might increase the rate of electrification in drayage trucking.

For the analyses, two scenarios for drayage truck electrification were compared to a reference case scenario.
  • Scenario 1- conservative electrification scenario (CES) where 50 percent of near-dock vehicle-miles-traveled (VMT) are met with electric trucks by 2035.
  • Scenario 2- optimistic scenario (OPT) where 50 percent of both near and off dock drayage VMTs are electrified by 2035.
The reference case considered a "business as usual" approach, where drayage transportation fuel consumption continues to be dominated by diesel through 2035.

Drayage truck VMTs were modeled based on the volume of twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) containers at the POLA/LB. Truck travel distances and loads were modeled based on container trip destinations. The model assumed linear growth in both container volume and truck VMT generation. Conventional drayage truck emissions were estimated using the California Mobile Emissions Factor Database (EMFAC) which contains both historical data and forecasts for emissions rates of all types of heavy duty transport.


The CES scenario produced only moderate reductions in emissions for each of the three environmental flows considered.
  • 50 percent electrification of near dock trips reduced 2035 drayage GHG emissions by 4 percent (~9500 tons CO2e), NOX emissions by 3 percent
  • PM2.5 emissions were basically unchanged from the reference case (14 metric tons PM2.5)
The OPT scenario resulted in emissions trajectories that begin to diverge more significantly from the reference case.
  • 2035 GHG emissions decreased by 30 percent, from 250 to 170 thousand metric tonnes CO2e
  • NOX emissions also decreased substantially with increased electrification of off-dock rail
  • 2035 emissions were reduced by 28 percent
  • Total emissions by 12 percent, or approximately 1,200 tonnes NOX
ZEDT deployment also shifts emissions away from the port facility. Emissions from ZEDTs take place mostly at the site of electricity generation. In the case of criteria pollutants, this could provide an important benefit in the form of relocating emissions away from sensitive receptors.
  • PM2.5 emissions were actually expected to increase with increased electrification, with a 7 percent total increase observed under the OPT scenario due to emissions from electricity production.
  • While total PM2.5 in the OPT scenario increased, emissions at the port facility actually decreased by 26 percent.
  • Operating and implementation costs for the ZEDT deployment under the conservative scenario increased total costs over the study period by 27 percent, or $124 million dollars.
  • While costs were generally higher under the conservative scenario, fuel costs did decrease by 15 percent, or $15 million, from the reference case fuel cost of $105 million.

Benefit Comments

No comments posted to date

Comment on this Benefit

To comment on this summary, fill in the information below and click on submit. An asterisk (*) indicates a required field. Your name and email address, if provided, will not be posted, but are to contact you, if needed to clarify your comments.


Electrification of Drayage Trucks: On Track for a Sustainable Freight Path

Author: Hanjiro Ambrose, Miguel Jaller

Published By: Transportation Research Board

Source Date: 08/01/2015



Average User Rating

0 ( ratings)

Rate this Benefit

(click stars to rate)

Typical Deployment Locations

Metropolitan Areas


None defined

Benefit ID: 2016-01118