Despite the protests, LA's harbor commission has approved APMT's permit application for the equipment, while at the same time denying the union's appeal. However, the city council can ask the port commission to reconsider the matter.

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As for APM, it notes that the charging stations are not vital to its plan, adding that it requires no further approval to introduce automated equipment at the facility. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union's contract with West Coast port employers allows automation, while automated straddle carriers are already operating at the Port of Long Beach.

If the city rejects the right to create infrastructure for electric operation, Maersk will use the automated carriers using their diesel engines, thus adding more air pollution to the plan.

Commenting on the electric straddle carriers, two top Maersk executives told L.A. mayor Eric Garcetti that these improvements will advance electrification, while none are required for automation.

Nevertheless, the fact is that APMT plans to bring around 130 automated carriers, beginning with 30 in 2019. The new equipment aim to reduce labor costs, limit turn times for trucks by two thirds and enable the terminal to transition to 24-day operation.