The Northwest Ports of Vancouver, BC, Seattle, Tacoma, and the combined container operations of The Northwest Seaport Alliance, announced their joint vision to phase out emissions from seaport-related activities by 2050.
irstly adopted in 2008, the collaboration among the four ports, under the name ‘Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy’, now plans to implement changes in equipment, fuels, and infrastructure, to support cleaner air for local communities and to help limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C.
The Strategy covers six sectors of port activity: oceangoing vessels, cargo-handling equipment, trucks, harbor vessels, rail, and port administration and tenant facilities.
In order for us to meet these ambitious long-term targets that benefit the climate and surrounding communities, it’s essential that the state and federal government partner with the Ports to provide progressive policies and financial assistance that create incentives for their adoption prior to regulatory obligations,
…said Fred Felleman, Port of Seattle Commission President and Co-Chair of The Northwest Seaport Alliance.
Over the last decade, the Strategy has achieved significant results. The 2013 Strategy set targets to reduce diesel particulate matter (DPM) and GHG emissions per metric ton of cargo by 80% and 15%, respectively, relative to 2005 levels. The reductions can be attributed to changes in international, national, and provincial regulations, industry action, and port policies and programs to accelerate the turnover of older equipment and use of cleaner fuels.
A few of the significant actions taken over the past decade include:
- NWSA’s Clean Truck Program has decreased diesel emissions from trucks serving international container terminals in Seattle and Tacoma. Starting in 2019, all trucks entering these terminals must have a 2007 engine or newer, which have emission controls that reduce diesel particulate matter (DPM) emissions by 90%. The program is expected to reduce 33 tons of DPM annually.
- Port of Seattle was the first port in the world to offer shore power at two cruise berths. Each cruise ship that plugs in at the Smith Cove Cruise Terminal at Terminal 91 avoids as much CO2 as driving a car from Seattle to New York 30 times. The Port plans to install shore power at the Bell Street Cruise Terminal at Pier 66 by 2023.
- The Northwest Ports advocated for the designation of the North American Emissions Control Area (ECA). Since 2015, the ECA has required ships to use 0.1% sulfur content in diesel fuel or have equivalent emission controls, reducing air pollutant emissions in the region.
- Key initiatives that the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority is advancing to reach its air emission reduction targets include incentivizing cleaner and quieter vessels through its EcoAction program, promoting the phase-out of older, high-emitting, diesel-powered equipment, and providing shore power connections at cruise and container terminals for ships to connect to clean, hydroelectric energy while docked.
Through the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy, ports have a blueprint to do their part by helping to protect air quality and responding to the international call to take action on climate change,
…said Dick Marzano, Port of Tacoma Commission President and Co-Chair of The Northwest Seaport Alliance.
As port-specific implementation plans enable ports to identify resources on actions, the Northwest Ports will each release port-specific plans to implement the 2020 Strategy vision and objectives across their unique operations and businesses and will continue to report annually on the progress.
Progress toward these objectives continues to be reported on and published in annual Implementation Reports. Air pollutant and GHG emissions from each sector are measured every five years in the Puget Sound Maritime Air Emissions Inventory for US ports and in a port-wide inventory conducted by Vancouver Fraser Port Authority.