The Port of Long Beach has cut diesel particulates by 81 percent and sulfur oxides 88 percent since 2005, according to its 2012 Emissions Inventory report.
The port’s has also reduced nitrogen oxides by 54 percent and other greenhouse gases by 24 percent since 2005. The reduction in pollutants outpaced a 10 percent decline in containerized cargo activity in the same period.
The 2012 figures mark six years in a row of improving air quality in the harbor area. The reasons for emissions reductions include bigger ships carrying cargo more efficiently, newer ships with cleaner engines, the Jan. 1, 2012 deadline for full implementation of the Clean Trucks Program, increasing use of shore power, and a new low-sulfur fuel rule for ships that started in August 2012, according to the report.
The EPA, the California Air Resources Board and the South Coast Air Quality Management District all reviewed the study’s results.
The port conducts the annual air pollution analysis to check its progress in improving air quality. It’s part of the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan, created in 2006, which maps out a strategy to reduce or prevent pollution from the ships, trucks, locomotives, tractors and cranes that move cargo.
All 13 international cargo terminals at the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach will power docked ships with electricity by the end of 2013, cutting air pollution from the ships at berth by 95 percent, the Port of Long Beach announced earlier this year.
The infrastructure to supply shore power — also known as cold ironing or alternative marine power (AMP) — is being installed in support of clean air initiatives led by the two ports and the California Air Resources Board.
CARB has mandated that by Jan. 1, 2014, half of all visits by container cargo, refrigerated cargo and cruise vessels must be powered by electricity. The rule applies to fleets making at least 25 visits per year to California ports.
The Northwest ports of Seattle, Tacoma and Metro Vancouver say they will reduce diesel particulate matter by 75 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent, per ton of cargo, by 2015, according to the ports’ updated Clean Air Strategy, published last month. Both air pollution reduction targets use 2005 levels as a baseline.