Diesel pollution down 82 percent at the Port of Long Beach

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line contributing writer | 10/3/2014

One of the busiest shipping ports in the world has seen a dramatic drop in diesel emissions since 2005.

The Port of Long Beach, which combined with the neighboring Port of Los Angeles handles 40 percent of United States’ imported freight, announced a reduction in diesel emissions of 82 percent since 2005.

In a news release issued by the port, port leaders said diesel emissions from ships, trucks, trains and other machines dropped sharply between 2006 and 2013. Emissions of nitrogen oxides dropped by 54 percent, and sulfur oxide emissions were reduced by 90 percent compared with 2005 levels.

According to the port’s emissions inventory, nearly 10 percent of port calls were made by heavy-duty trucks powered by alternative fuels. In 2013, more than 35 percent of trucks making port calls were 2009 model year engine trucks – the highest percentage of any model year. 2008 and 2007 were the second- and third-highest percentage of model year trucks used.

Emissions dropped even as containerized cargo shipping increased by .3 percent since 2005, the news release said. The port attributed the improvements to larger, more efficient cargo ships with cleaner engines, the increased use of on-dock rail and shore power and requirements for lower sulfur fuel.

The Clean Trucks Program, which is operated at both Long Beach and Los Angeles ports, also was cited in the release. The CTP requires trucks entering the port to have 2007 or newer model year engines, as well as other stipulations designed to reduce diesel emissions.

“The Port of Long Beach is able to achieve these reductions through its deep commitment to environmental improvement and sustainability,” Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners President Doug Drummond said, according to a news release. “And we want to bring more zero-emissions technology to the Port and continue to be the world’s greenest seaport.”

The study’s results were reviewed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the California Air Resources Board, and the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

The Port of Long Beach processes more than $180 billion in imports and exports annually.

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