JACKSONVILLE, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Trailer Bridge, Inc. (NASDAQ: TRBR) today announced that it will be a co-sponsor of Puerto Rico's International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) on September 20, 2008. The ICC was started 22 years ago by Ocean Conservancy, a major Washington D.C. based environmental group, and the worldwide beach cleanup on the third Saturday in September is the largest volunteer event of its kind. Last year, more than 378,000 volunteers donated their time to remove more than six million pounds of debris from over 33,000 miles of coastline in 76 countries. Last year, the ICC's group in Puerto Rico, coordinated by Alberto Marti of Scuba Dogs Society, a 501 C-3 non-profit organization, involved 9,325 volunteers at 115 sites covering 162 miles of coastline. They removed over 362,000 pounds of debris, making it among the largest ICC efforts worldwide. This year's cleanup in Puerto Rico is expected to be even larger with more than 10,000 volunteers at over 150 sites. Additional information for those interested in volunteering is available at 787-783-6377 or the www.scubadogssociety.org website.
"Alberto Marti has done an excellent job of helping to educate policymakers and the public on the importance of preserving Puerto Rico's coasts and underwater environment. We share his commitment to improving the environment in Puerto Rico and believe that Trailer Bridge's vessels, which exclusively use a cleaner distillate fuel, do that by resulting in geometrically less particulate matter emissions. We are pleased to support the ICC's and Scuba Dogs Society's island-wide cleanup. We are also pleased to operate vessels which result in a much cleaner over-the-water environment for everyone in Puerto Rico," said John D. McCown, Trailer Bridge's CEO.
Trailer Bridge was the first marine company to join the EPA's SmartWay Transport Partnership, a voluntary business/government collaboration focused on increasing efficiency and reducing emissions. Because all of its vessels use a cleaner distillate fuel all the time, Trailer Bridge's entire fleet already meets all the fuel quality standards recently recommended by the U.N.'s International Maritime Organization (IMO). The U.S. Senate passed a bill approving the IMO framework and on July 21, 2008, President Bush signed that bill into law.
Under the IMO framework and United States law, any emission control areas which are established in the U.S. will require fuel with no more than 1% sulphur in 2010, further reducing to 0.1% by 2015. This is expected to be achieved with distillate fuel, which is the cleaner type of fuel that Trailer Bridge's vessels already use. Separately, there are other local regulatory initiatives focused on the vessel fuel quality issue. In late July, the California Air Resources Board adopted a regulation requiring the use of cleaner distillate fuel within 24 miles of its coast starting in 2009. More recently, five states, including California and New Jersey, sent a letter to the EPA demanding that it regulate vessels by requiring them to use cleaner distillate fuel and threatening legal action if not acted upon within 180 days.
Trailer Bridge believes the vessel fuel quality issue is gaining momentum because the data linking the health effects of particulate matter emissions from vessels burning the typical residual fuel is compelling. A recent study by the leading academic experts in the field linked those emissions to 60,000 deaths each year in coastal areas worldwide, growing by 40% in several years. A wholesale change from typical residual fuel to cleaner distillate, which is what the IMO framework and the other initiatives are focused on, would reduce particulate matter emissions and their resulting morbidity effect by a factor of ten.
Mr. McCown continued, "We like being aligned with the volunteers and other co-sponsors who will make this year's ICC cleanup in Puerto Rico bigger than ever. Their advocacy of greater awareness on this environmental issue fits with our efforts to increase awareness on the vessel fuel quality issue. We have a different transportation system and some of the same elements that deliver efficiency also follow-thru with some significant environmental benefits. We are increasingly seeing indications that marine shippers are incorporating environmental aspects into their decision making process. The fuel quality and emissions aspects of our system are noteworthy differentiating characteristics. The change to distillate fuel is coming and it is a paradigm-shift that will further enhance Trailer Bridge's competitive cost advantages. This is why I continue to address this issue."
Trailer Bridge provides integrated trucking and marine freight service to and from all points in the lower 48 states and Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, bringing efficiency, service, security and environmental and safety benefits to domestic cargo in that traffic lane. This total transportation system utilizes its own trucks, drivers, trailers, containers and U.S. flag vessels to link the mainland with Puerto Rico via marine facilities in Jacksonville, San Juan and Puerto Plata. Additional information on Trailer Bridge is available at the www.trailerbridge.com website.
This press release contains statements that constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The matters discussed in this press release include statements regarding the intent, belief or current expectations of the Company, its directors or its officers with respect to the future operating performance of the Company. Investors are cautioned that any such forward looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties, and that actual results may differ materially from those in the forward looking statements as a result of various factors. Without limitation, these risks and uncertainties include the risks of economic recessions, severe weather, changes in the price of fuel, changes in demand for transportation services offered by the Company, capacity conditions in the Puerto Rico trade lane and changes in rate levels for transportation services offered by the Company.
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