Ørsted unveils electric truck initiative aimed at improving air quality in communities surrounding Port of Newark

Cranes are used to load and unload ships in the port.

For more than 40 years, residents and community leaders in Newark have raised concerns about poor air quality and growing health problems, particularly those impacting children, in and around the Port of Newark. Ørsted officials said they intend to fix that.

Ørsted announced Wednesday it will partner with Zeem Solutions to enable the rollout of 50 electric drayage trucks, associated vehicle infrastructure and mobility training programs for area residents at the Port of Newark.

The $11 million partnership is a part of Ørsted’s Ocean Wind 2 bid that is being considered by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, company officials said.

Newark and Elizabeth are situated in and along major thoroughfares and are adjacent to one of the largest and most active ports on the East Coast. This proximity results in thousands of daily truck trips traversing the Port of Newark. Drayage trucks are the cause of 25% of all marine terminal emissions. These emissions are some of the most harmful — they include the small bits of particulate matter that lodge inside our lungs. The effects of these emissions manifest themselves within the local communities in the form of higher levels of respiratory and cardiac diseases and other complications brought on by daily exposure to high levels of particulate matter and other emissions.

The partnership, outlined in Ørsted’s 1,200 megawatt Ocean Wind 2 bid that was submitted in December, will build a state-of-the-art truck depot, including charging infrastructure and battery storage, that will house, charge and service 200 trucks. Of those 200 trucks, 50 will be electric drayage trucks made possible by Ørsted’s investment.

The depot and the electric trucks will have the following unique features:

  • They will be powered by the Ocean Wind 1 project;
  • The depot will offer worker training and serve as a certification center, placing New Jersey in a clean energy leadership role;
  • The depot will have battery storage, which will provide an added measure of resiliency to the facility ;
  • The depot provides a model for other New Jersey port communities to replicate.

David Hardy, CEO of offshore North America, Ørsted, said the company will be able to move swiftly if Ocean Wind 2 were to be selected by the BPU.

“Our initiative complements Gov. (Phil) Murphy’s recent announcement to deliver $100 million in clean mobility projects for the state,” he said. “Ørsted shares the state’s vision of providing environmental justice for underprivileged New Jersey communities.”

Paul Gioupis, co-founder and CEO of Zeem Solutions, agreed.

“Our partnership with Ørsted will accelerate Zeem’s opening of our first East Coast commercial EV depot,” he said. “The high demand for New Jersey fleets wanting to electrify provides the opportunity to leverage renewable resources for vehicle charging, mitigate harmful emissions and positively impact air quality around the Newark Port.

“Additionally, Zeem will be providing skilled workforce training and employment opportunities directly in the surrounding disadvantaged community. The Ørsted/Zeem partnership will facilitate a sustainable operations model with environmental and community benefits.”