Measuring Clean Air Progress

The Port closely tracks air emissions associated with port operations through the Inventory of Air Emissions report as part of its larger commitment to improving the health of those who live and work in the harbor area and the region.

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What is the Inventory of Air Emissions?

The Inventory of Air Emissions is an annual report detailing the progress the Port is making to reduce harmful emissions from all port-related sources: large ships, smaller harbor craft, locomotives, trucks and off-road cargo handling equipment. The benefits of this report include:

  • Tracking clean air gains
  • Measuring increased health benefits
  • Verifying pollution reduction strategies

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Innovating to Create a Zero-Emissions Port

The Port has been tracking emissions for clean air progress since 2005, which allows the report to show where dramatic gains in reducing pollution have been made, such as through the Port’s Clean Truck Program, and where more work is needed, such as finding ways to further reduce NOx emissions from ships. The Port is pursuing new technologies and innovative solutions to sustain its clean air progress and build on it. The Port’s strategies for reaching its ultimate goal of eliminating all harmful emissions from port-related sources include increasing the use of alternative fuels and advancing the development and deployment of electric trucks and cargo handling equipment.

Monitoring and Verifying for Accurate Data

Every year, the Port measures emissions of key pollutants, including diesel particulate matter (DPM), nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur oxides (SOx) and greenhouse gases (GHG) from all sources of combustion related to moving cargo: large vessels, locomotives, trucks, small harbor craft and off-road cargo handling equipment. The report looks at the different types of emissions from each source, based on details such as engine models and duty cycles, and explains the methodologies used to calculate emissions. The Port partners with regional (SCAQMD), state (CARB) and federal (U.S. EPA) air regulatory agencies, as well as the Port of Long Beach, to verify the results.

Increasing Cargo Volume While Decreasing Emissions

In tracking the Port’s progress, the Inventory of Air Emissions report also factors in changes in cargo volume. To date, those calculations confirm the Port is moving more goods across its docks while generating fewer emissions. The analysis is based on emissions reduced for every 10,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), the standard measure for containers.

Developing and Improving Clean Air Strategies

The Inventory of Air Emissions was a key tool used to develop the original San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan and its subsequent updates. The annual report continues to serve as a yardstick for measuring Port progress, shaping environmental policy, expanding clean air strategies and raising the bar with new pollution reduction targets aimed at eliminating all harmful emissions from port-related operations. As a result of its aggressive strategies, the Port exceeded its 2023 targets for reducing DPM and SOx emissions in 2014, and it is close to achieving its 2023 goal for reducing NOx emissions.