Proposed CARB Mandate will Disrupt California-Mexico Supply Chains

Proposed CARB Mandate will Disrupt California-Mexico Supply Chains


Otay Mesa is home to California’s largest commercial land port of entry with an estimated 7,000-9,000 truck crossings per day (3,500-4,500 northbound and 3,500-4,500 southbound). Otay Mesa has a unique trucking community, which travels to the maritime ports in the Los Angeles area and works with large manufacturers in Baja California. This phenomenon makes some of our truckers, even small size fleet operators, fall under the California Air Resources Board Advanced Clean Fleet High Priority and/or Drayage regulations, which require very aggressive fleet transition timelines.

High Priority Fleet Definitions and Proposed Regulations

Drayage Truck Proposed Regulations 


Manufacturers in Baja with over $50 million in annual revenue…. any truck you add to your fleet on or after January 1, 2024 has to be a  Zero Emission trucks (ZEV) . A zero emission vehicle is defined as a hydrogen fueled vehicle or a fully electric vehicle. By the way, hydrogen fueled trucks are in a demonstration phase and will be readily available in the next 5 years (certainly not by January 1, 2024). An alternative transition is available but quite complicated and involves having a certain Zero Emission vehicle percentage of your fleet. It varies by type of truck and begins in 2025.

Trucking companies:

If you solely provide trucking services to a manufacturer that generates over $50 million you also fall under the priority fleet requirement or if you own, operate or direct a fleet of more than 50 trucks (on both sides of the border not just California). Please note that the word direct implies that your fleets can be on both sides of the border and under different names, as long as the same management/ownership team is directing them.

Now, if your trucks enter the maritime ports, regardless of your fleet size, you have to comply with the drayage regulations that require new trucks to be Zero Emission by January 1, 2024 as well, meaning if you need to add a new truck to the CARB registry to enter the maritime ports as of January 1, 2024 it needs to be a ZEV truck. You can still use your trucks that are already in the CARB registry after the January 1, 2024 date.

This proposed regulation is expected to be approved this fall. Now, how will our trucking community comply with these regulations when there are absolutely no ZEV charging stations in Otay Mesa and certainly none in Mexico?

By the way, Mexico has no plans to develop ZEV stations for now and CARB is making the really big assumption that the private sector will take charge of establishing ZEV charging stations throughout the State. While there are plans to develop two electric charging “lanes” at a truck stop in Otay Mesa for cross border trucking, that capacity is not even close to accommodating the potential demand for ZEV vehicles. If you are wondering about the new natural gas truck investments made by our trucking community very recently to comply with the existing Truck and Bus Rule, they are NOT considered a ZE vehicle in the proposed legislation.

Energy Availability

To continue with the challenges, the California Energy Commission has not estimated the additional energy demands this mandate will generate and so far, is not working with the Public Utilities Commission and our utility companies to ensure that electricity will be readily available for this mandate.

Finally, while we are not experts in this subject, we understand that the charging times required for Class 8 electric trucks in addition to the DOT electronic logging requirements for truck drivers, as well as mile ranges make it unviable to use electric trucks and hydrogen provides a better option (at least while technology for electric trucks improve)

It would make more sense to invest in hydrogen fueling stations and be prepared to make this switch once the availability is widespread, which again is expected in around five years.

Funding Equity

The State has allocated millions of dollars in grants for this transition but to our knowledge because these grants are competitive, none of our small and medium truck operators have accessed this funding. If you are in Otay Mesa (or San Diego) and have received a ZE related grant, please let us know because we would love to document this.  CARB should consider funding equity by region, underserved populations and size of company, this way owner operators, small, and medium sized companies and the Hispanic operators are not left out.

By all means if you have concerns with this proposed legislation, you can comment here (under the proposed Advanced Clean Fleet Regulations Rulemaking section).

Attached you can read the Otay Mesa Chamber of Commerce Comment Letter.