Driven by California's Sustainable Freight Action Plan, the ports of LA and Long Beach are updating their Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP). The state's plan, unveiled in July 2016, focuses on improvements to freight infrastructure efficiency, a transition to zero-emission tech, and a goal to make California's freight system more competitive. According to the Journal of Commerce, these ports currently have the strictest air-quality standards in the US and this new update of their CAAP will create environmental policies that some cargo owners and port clients fear will make the port complex less competitive.
As reported in American Shipper, the Port of Los Angeles is the largest port in the US and the Port of Long Beach is the second largest port. Taken together, they rank as the ninth largest port complex globally, handling 40% of US containerized imports and 25% of exports.
The San Pedro Bay port operations plan update includes reducing greenhouse gases by requiring zero and near-zero emission trucks and cargo handling equipment as well as making ship emission reduction programs more robust. These reductions will move port-related pollution in 2050 to 80% below 1990 levels. It may also increase cargo-handling costs. The Pacific Merchant Shipping Association estimates these costs to terminal operations to be between $19 billion and $29 billion.
So far, under the CAAP originally put into place in 2006, the ports have reduced “particulate matter emissions up to 85%, cut nitrogen oxides in half, eliminated 97 percent of sulfur oxides and lowered greenhouse gases by an average of 12 percent.” These results will help the ports to exceed their existing 2023 targets. The new CAAP program is reflective of a much more aggressive plan which focuses on all aspects of port related emissions including ships, trucks, trains, cargo handling equipment and harbor craft.
Items in the CAAP recommend these changes:
Setting clean engine standards for port trucks with preferential options for “green trucks,” and reducing the numbers of idling equipment
Moving to a zero emission truck fleet by 2035
Setting up reduced dock charges to incent vessels to lower their speeds when navigating toward harbors
Encouraging use of alternative technologies by ships in berth
Offering incentives for ships to upgrade their technology, and for shipping firms to send their cleanest ships to the port complex
Exploring strategies to enhance efficiencies throughout the supply chain
Upgrading yard trucks and tractors to cleaner LNG fuel sources and bringing in electrically-powered cranes
Container volume in the port complex increased 174% from 1996 to 2006; the first CAAP was introduced in 2006. Since that time, container handling volume has decreased 2.6%. Although a global economic downturn and a number of union contract negotiations which generated labor slowdowns occurred during that period, the market share lost is concerning to terminal operators in view of the recent new CAAP that the ports are planning.
PortVision has worked with both the Port of Long Beach/LA and the Port of San Diego on projects to reduce vessel emissions. For more information about the projects and how PortVision can help make your port greener, call us at 713-337-3737.