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Port of Houston

Houston Port Expansion Means More Trucking – What About Emissions?

Port of HoustonAn ongoing port expansion is predicted to bring economic gains to Houston – and could increase truck journeys, too.

With widening of the Panama Canal now underway, the Port of Houston could soon receive many of the ships that once unloaded on the West Coast. Not only is the port likely to see more and bigger ships, but more trucks will be needed to take that cargo onward. This suggests that pollution such as particulates could be an issue, according to NPR stations KUT and KUHF.

But the Texas Trucking Association argues that these trucks’ emissions may not pose a problem, because most of the trucks operating at the Houston port have engines from 2008 or earlier – and the state has incentives for retrofitting trucks with newer engines.

A peer-reviewed EDF study in December 2012 found that while larger vessel sizes carrying cargo through an expanded Panama Canal could reduce CO2 emissions as much as 23 percent, other factors such as increased voyage distance and waterborne emissions essentially negate these GHG reductions.

Takeaway: The Panama Canal widening project will have knock-on effects for Houston’s port and its trucking – but the state trucking association is confident that newer engines will keep emissions down.

Tamar Wilner is Senior Editor at Environmental Leader PRO.

Picture credit: Port of Houston Authority

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2 thoughts on “Houston Port Expansion Means More Trucking – What About Emissions?

  1. I think it will exacerbate the already terribly polluted (surface wise) conditions in both the Houston area and Texas. Houston remains TRAVEL+LEISURE’s #10 “America’s Dirtiest City” while Texas is currently #10 “worst” government for least clean public spaces, in the American State Litter Scorecard.

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