Pacific Northwest Ports Extend Clean Air Partnership

Pacific Northwest Ports Extend Clean Air Partnership

Port Metro Vancouver

The ports of Seattle and Tacoma, Wash., and Port Metro Vancouver, British Columbia, have decided to extend the 2007 Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy partnership through 2020 to continue reducing maritime-related diesel emissions.

The ports, which are all located in the Georgia Basin-Puget Sound airshed, have set collective goals to cut diesel particulate matter emissions by 75 percent per ton of cargo by 2015 and 80 percent by 2020, from a 2005 baseline. The ports also intend to reduce greenhouse gases by 10 percent by 2015 and 15 percent by 2020 per ton of cargo moved.

The strategy covers ocean-going vessels, harbor vessels, cargo-handling equipment, trucks, locomotives and rail transport and port administration, with flexibility for how each port meets the targets. The extended partnership also incorporates new emissions inventory data, regulatory changes and emerging issues to set performance targets for 2015 and 2020.

The 2007 Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy was originally planned to be a five-year program but has now been extended another eight years based on the results of the 2011 Puget Sound Maritime Air Emissions Inventory, which was released in October 2012. The inventory found port-related air pollution has decreased since 2005, with much of the progress driven by voluntary investments of the maritime industry and government agencies in cleaner technology, cleaner fuels and more efficient systems of operation.

The partnership comprises the three ports, as well as five regulatory agencies: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington State Department of Ecology, Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, Environment Canada and Metro Vancouver. Cooperative relationships with customers, tenants, shipping lines and environmental organizations are also involved.

The following table, provided by the Port of Seattle, outlines the new emissions targets set for 2015 and 2020 by sector:

SECTOR 2015
TARGETS
2020
TARGETS
Ocean-Going Vessels
Vessels surpass Emission Control Area requirements Early compliance with 2015 ECA 0.1 percent fuel sulfur level (or equivalent) Ports track number of vessels with Tier 3* marine engines, shore power use, cleaner fuel or other emission reduction technologies
Ports and vessels participate in port-designed or third-party certification programs that promote continuous improvement Ports and 10 percent of vessel calls Ports and 40 percent of
vessel calls
Harbor Vessels
Strategy partners conduct annual outreach to port-related harbor vessel companies and recognize best practices and engine upgrades Partners conduct outreach and 50 percent of harbor vessel companies report best practices and engine upgrades Partners conduct outreach and 90 percent of harbor vessel companies report best practices and engine upgrades
Ports and harbor vessels participate in port-designed or third-party certification programs that promote continuous improvement Ports and 10 percent of harbor vessels Ports and 40 percent of
harbor vessels
Cargo-Handling Equipment
Equipment meets Tier 4* interim emission standards or equivalent 50 percent of
equipment
80 percent of
equipment
Ports and terminals have fuel efficiency plans Ports and 50 percent of
terminals
Ports and 100 percent
of terminals
Trucks
Trucks meet or surpass U.S. EPA emission standards or equivalent for model year 2007 80 percent of trucks 100 percent of trucks
(by 2017)
Ports and terminals have fuel efficiency plans Ports and 50 percent of
terminals
Ports and 100 percent of terminals
Locomotives
Switcher locomotive owners/operators participate in a fuel efficiency program 100 percent of owners/operators institute a program 100 percent of owners/operators achieve performance
objectives of chosen program
Switcher locomotive owners/operators participate upgrade or replace unregulated engines (engine replacements will be Tier 2* or better) 10 percent of unregulated locomotive engines 20 percent of unregulated locomotive engines

*EPA’s emission requirements for nonroad engines and vehicles

The ports’ strategy is part of a larger trend across the transportation industry favoring green energy. South Carolina Ports Authority recently launched a clean truck program, and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration also recently allocated $1.4 million for LNG projects. Container lines, such as Crowley; and rail companies, like CSX and GE Transportation, are also following suit.