Lessons Learned from the Mid-Atlantic Dray Truck Replacement Program September 2016

The Mid-Atlantic Regional Air Management Association (MARAMA) received a $3.9 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reduce diesel emissions affecting communities affected by diesel truck traffic serving ports in the Mid-Atlantic region.  The project was active from 2010 through 2014 and supported the replacement of over 200 old diesel trucks with newer, cleaner trucks. 

The Program provided down payments to owners of container trucks providing port drayage service to make the voluntary replacement of their trucks affordable and to help owners obtain loans to finance the cost of the replacement trucks.  Areas served included the Port of Virginia, the Port of Baltimore, the Port of Philadelphia, and the Port of Wilmington, Delaware.  Each of these ports is located in areas with poor air quality for ozone and fine particulates.  Diesel particulate has been identified as a carcinogen, and drayage trucks tend to be among the oldest trucks on the road with some of the highest emissions.

MARAMA leveraged additional in-kind resources and funding for the program through cooperation with port agencies, carriers, truck vendors, scrap yards, trucking companies, and financing entities.  MARAMA worked cooperatively with the University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center to administer the program.  External funding, active stakeholder outreach, and a collaborative approach helped to increase the effectiveness of the program.

Support of the participating port agencies was essential.  MARAMA’s program built on experience with the Port of Virginia’s Green Operator Program and the Maryland Port Administration’s Green Port initiative.  The energy and cooperative relationships developed in the MARAMA program led to spinoff programs and grants obtained by the Philadelphia Clean Air Council and the Maryland Department of the Environment. 

The Maryland Port Administration and the Virginia Port Authority continue to operate replacement programs, and MARAMA has applied for additional EPA grant funding.