CARB Releases Final Sustainable Freight Plan

In response to an Executive Order issued last year by Governor Brown, state agency leaders released the California Sustainable Freight Action Plan, a comprehensive document that serves as a blueprint for transforming the state’s multi-billion dollar freight transport system.  This new plan affects every facet of transportation in the state from rail, trucks and forklifts to fuel, transportation refrigeration units (TRUs) and ships.  From the Association’s perspective the plan has improved in that it now recognizes and relies heavily upon incentives to help fund many of the new technologies that companies will be implementing.   “We listened to stakeholders, incorporated changes, and we will continue to consult with them as we put the Plan into action” said California Air Resources Board Chair Mary D. Nichols.  While it has improved, major impacts still remain or are yet to be fleshed out.  Developed in response to Governor Brown’s Executive Order B-32-15, which calls for a single integrated action plan for California, the Action Plan was prepared by the California State Transportation Agency, California Environmental Protection Agency, California Natural Resources Agency, California Air Resources Board, California Department of Transportation, California Energy Commission and the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, with broad stakeholder input.   The Executive Order directs the state agencies to pursue a shared vision to “improve freight efficiency, transition to zero-emission technologies and increase the competitiveness of California’s freight system.”  The Action Plan includes a long term-2050 vision and guiding principles for California’s future freight transport system along with these targets for 2030:

  • Improve freight system efficiency 25 percent by 2030
  • Deploy over 100,000 zero-emission vehicles/equipment and maximize near-zero by 2020
  • Foster future economic growth within the freight and goods movement industry.

The plan also identifies opportunities to leverage State freight transport system investments, pinpoints actions to initiate over the next five years to meet goals, and lists possible pilot projects to achieve concrete progress in the near term.  Some of the areas where our members will be impacted include:

  • Zero emission technologies, such as electric forklifts
  • Lower emission trucks (beyond the current ARB Truck Rule)
  • Transportation Refrigeration Units (TRUs)
  • Freight Hubs (could include our operations where trucks come and go)


Over the next several months, the Association will be heavily involved in this issue as we work to push for incentives and voluntary approaches to this broad regulatory effort.  Next steps for state agencies will include continued work with federal, state, industry, labor, regional, local and environmental and community-based partners to refine and prioritize the strategies and actions outlined in the Action Plan.  The state agencies will also create collaborative stakeholder working groups on competitiveness, system efficiency, workforce developments, and regulatory and permitting process improvements.  Regular California Freight Advisory Committee meetings will continue, and by July 2017, the state agencies will establish work plans for chosen pilot projects.