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Dray truckThe Port of Baltimore is offering owners of older dray trucks that operate at the Port a great opportunity to help upgrade their vehicles.

In return, the Port gets fewer air emissions and cleaner air for the wider community.

Eligible applicants can receive half the cost of a newer truck, up to $30,000, on trucks with a 2013 or newer model year engine.

The Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Port Administration (MDOT MPA) Dray Truck Replacement Program has received federal and state funds that can help defray the cost of new, or recent model, dray trucks for qualified truck owners.

With the new funding comes a terrific opportunity to help more truck owners upgrade their equipment. “Dollars for Drays” is the most recently launched campaign to acquaint truckers with the program’s benefits, eligibility requirements and application process and encourage them to participate.

Thanks to the recent funding, the Port is looking to replace approximately another 150 trucks in the near future, said Susan Stephenson, Senior Associate at the EcoLogix Group, who helps manage the dray program. “Truckers are aware of the program,” she said, “but the latest campaign will attempt to reach those who are not, and to assist them in taking advantage of the grants.”

Dray trucks make short hauls to and from the Port and nearby warehouses and cargo hubs, with some making several trips per day. The replacement program has already benefitted nearly 200 truckers at the Port since it began in 2009, reducing thousands of tons of diesel emissions.

By replacing trucks with engines from model years 1996-2006, the program assures that the truckers will be driving newer model trucks with lower emissions that release fewer pollutants and greenhouse gases.

Truckers may apply to replace more than one truck, but must complete a separate application for each truck, verifying that they have owned it more than one year and that it operates at the Port of Baltimore, among other stipulations.

Because many truckers are owner-operators, they find the grant money a boon to their small businesses, which may be stretched to afford new equipment. The average rebate per truck has been $24,000.

“The Port’s Dray Truck Replacement has been a great program for several years,” said Chandra Chithaluru, Air Quality Manager for the office of Safety, Environment and Risk Management at MDOT MPA, “and with the funds available and ease of the application process, I know that we can help a lot of truckers drive away with a new clean, green, diesel machine.”

For more information on Dollars for Drays, visit www.dieselupgrades.org or email info@dieselupgrades.org.