Wednesday, June 19, 2019

California Port Lines Up Plan to Improve Air Quality Associated with Shipping

New Technologies and Equipment at the Core of Emission Reductions
Shipping News Feature
US – When it comes to environmental issues the State of California is often in the van, and now the Port of Oakland Commissioners have approved an air quality plan intended to drastically cut diesel and greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the Port's maritime operations. The plan, called the Seaport Air Quality 2020 and Beyond Plan, envisions a zero-emissions operation in the future.

The Port said that the plan, a 320 page leviathan voted through last week, aims to provide a framework for maritime development for the next 30 years. The plan calls for changes in equipment, operations, fuels and infrastructure at the seaport. The plan’s principal goals aim to maintain its competitiveness, remaining a catalyst for jobs, minimise all harmful emissions and strengthen partnerships with all stakeholders. Examples of projects outlined in the plan:

  • Converting Port fleet vehicles and equipment to zero-emission
  • Installing electric infrastructure at container terminals
  • Tracking yard equipment for fuel consumption, operability and performance
  • Identifying cleaner fuels and alternative, renewable power sources
As a corollary to the plan, Commissioners asked for a report in six months on the feasibility of converting trucks and cargo-handling equipment to battery power. They also requested an update on the infrastructure needed to charge electric vehicles. Port of Oakland Executive Director Chris Lytle, commented:

“The Port’s Seaport Air Quality 2020 and Beyond Plan sends a powerful message that the Port will lead the way towards a post-carbon future. We’re always looking at pollution reduction measures that reflect new technologies, financial resources and stakeholder input.”

The Seaport Air Quality 2020 and Beyond plan is the successor to Oakland’s Maritime Air Quality Plan adopted a decade ago. That plan helped the Port reduce diesel particulate matter by 81%. Truck diesel emissions were down 98% and ship emissions dropped 78%.

The Port said it collaborated with community leaders, business representatives and academics over the last 18 months to create this new plan. The plan provides for community outreach, enabling neighbours to have a say in how the Port’s growth would affect air quality. It added that the plan calls for ongoing stakeholder meetings, work sessions and Town Hall updates.