Key Points:

1. The Biden Administration has revealed a plan to reduce emissions and pollution in the freight sector.

2. Large players in the freight world are responding positively to the plan.

Three men standing in a warehouse managing ending inventory counts

A Bold Push for Zero-Emissions Freight

The Biden Administration has set forth a bold national goal aimed at transitioning the freight sector to zero emissions across trucking, railroad, maritime, and aviation domains. This comprehensive strategy, outlined in a fact sheet from the administration, involves collaboration with business and community leaders to channel various government resources towards addressing air pollution hot spots and combating the climate crisis.

Central to this initiative is the adoption of zero-emissions vehicles, for which the administration has earmarked nearly $1.5 billion to boost their usage in freight transportation, with a focus on enhancing air quality. A significant portion of this funding, approximately $1 billion from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is allocated to replacing Class 6 and Class 7 heavy-duty vehicles, including delivery trucks, to mitigate pollution in urban areas.

Moreover, the EPA funding will also support the development of charging and fueling infrastructure for zero-emissions vehicles, with $400 million specifically directed towards projects aimed at mitigating air and noise pollution in communities.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) is contributing $400 million to improve air quality for truck drivers and port workers, with a focus on communities surrounding ports. Additionally, the Department of Energy (DOE) is investing $72 million in a program called “SuperTruck: Charged” to demonstrate how vehicle-grid integration can facilitate affordable and reliable charging while enhancing grid resiliency.

How is the Freight Industry Responding to Zero-Emissions Efforts?

The freight industry, although initially resistant to tougher emissions standards, has shown signs of progress in compliance efforts. Major players like Schneider National and a joint effort by Daimler Truck North America, NextEra Energy Resources, and BlackRock are actively investing in electric vehicles (EVs) and charging infrastructure to align with emissions laws.

Maritime shipping executives and members of the International Air Transport Association have also pledged to expedite their transition to green fuels. Railroads such as CPKC and CSX are collaborating to deploy technology for converting diesel-fueled locomotives to hydrogen.

The U.S. freight system plays a pivotal role in the nation’s economy, moving millions of tons of goods daily. However, it also contributes significantly to local air pollution, posing health risks, especially to communities living near transportation routes. President Biden’s commitment to zero-emissions freight aligns with his broader environmental goals, including achieving a carbon pollution-free energy sector by 2035 and net-zero emissions from transportation by 2050.

These announcements represent a significant step forward in the administration’s efforts to tackle emissions from America’s freight system. They build upon existing policies and initiatives aimed at decarbonizing transportation and fostering a cleaner, healthier environment for all Americans.