Study Shows Overall Emissions Reductions in Cargo Handling Equipment and Harbor Craft; Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) and Sulfur Oxides (SOx) Reductions in Ship Emissions; and a Port-wide Decrease SOx Emissions

 SAN PEDRO, Calif. – September 6, 2007 - Between 2001 and 2005, overall container-related emissions at the Port of Los Angeles grew at rates of less than half the 44-percent increase in container volume at the nation’s number one container port, according to a 2005 air emissions inventory released today. 

The combined effects of regulations, voluntary emission reduction efforts (by the Port and Port tenants), improvements in terminal operations, and other factors also contributed to a 17- to 27-percent reduction in tons of mass emissions per 10,000 containers or TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units).  Port-wide emissions of sulfur oxides (SOx) showed the strongest decreases: four percent overall and 27 percent in terms of the aforementioned emissions-to-throughput ratio.  The study also showed a 22-percent decrease in overall emissions from commercial harbor craft. 

“This study illustrates how strong coordination and millions of dollars in Port, cargo terminal and harbor craft operator investment have started to improve the air quality at the Port,” said Geraldine Knatz, Ph.D., executive director.  “Particulate matter emissions from cargo terminal equipment and harbor craft are down by 12 percent and 22 percent, respectively, even with the significant increase in container cargo volume.  Larger and more modern ships also have reduced calls and begun to curb NOx and SOx emissions at the Port.  Beyond that, this inventory underscores our need to continue to move aggressively forward with the implementation of the Clean Air Action Plan – and that’s our primary focus this year.”

 When looked at as the ratio of container related emissions from all source categories per 10,000 containers (i.e., tons of container movement emissions from ships, trucks, trains, cargo equipment and harbor craft), the movement of containers was accomplished with 17-percent lower emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM10). 

While overall emissions increased from ocean-going vessels (12 percent), rail locomotives (70 percent), and trucks (25 percent) these increases, when combined, are far short of the overall 44-percent increase in container cargo volume noted above.  None of the clean air measures codified in the San Pedro Bay Clean Air Action Plan approved last November were in effect during the period covered by the 2005 Inventory, but the Port and its tenants and other associated businesses had begun to invest in emission reducing measures during this period.

Study Highlights

On-Dock Rail Lifts Contribute to Increased Rail Emissions – The number of containers leaving the port via rail more than doubled between 2001 and 2005, contributing to the 70-percent increase in rail-related PM10 emissions, although it’s commonly accepted that on-dock rail transport of containers produces less air emissions overall by limiting the increase in containers moving by truck.  (On average, one train eliminates 270 truck trips.)  In an effort co-funded by the ports and the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), the Pacific Harbor Line, the railroad company providing switching services to the port complex, is in the process of bringing on-line a $23 million fleet of ultra-modern locomotives.  This new fleet will emit 70 percent less diesel particulate matter, 46 percent less NOx, and cut greenhouse gases by burning 30 percent less fuel compared with their current fleet of aging switching locomotives.

Significantly Cleaner Cargo Handling Equipment Fleets – Port tenants have been turning over their fleets and have installed diesel oxidation catalysts on more than 580 pieces of equipment.  In addition, approximately 165 on-road engine tractors have been ordered to date and more than 800 pieces of equipment are now running on cleaner fuels. The Port has helped this effort by providing funding and coordinating support with South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) and California Air Resources Board (CARB).  Even though the fleet sizes have increased to handle the increase in container volume, PM emissions from this equipment has been reduced by 12 percent and SOx emissions has held steady with a one percent decrease.

More Cargo, Fewer Ship Calls – Between 2001 and 2005, Ocean-going Vessel emissions decreased in NOx (six percent) and SOx (four percent).  The average number of TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) per ship increased from 3,272 in 2001 to 5,260 in 2005, which reflects the 44-percent increase in container volume (a 61-percent increase in TEU densification per ship call), while overall containership calls fell from 1,584 in 2001 to 1,423 in 2005.  Dredging of the Main Channel and berthing areas has allowed this trend to continue by allowing larger vessels to call at the Port, and the steamship lines are continuing to build and deploy these larger containerships.  Overall vessel calls at the port decreased from 2,717 to 2,341 between 2001 and 2005.  Several of the larger commercial craft operators at the port have taken advantage of Port grant funding to help pay for their conversion to more environmentally friendly, lower emissions engines. 

The Push for Lower Sulfur Fuels -- The Port of Los Angeles has been a vocal industry proponent of international treaty reform and proposed federal legislation such as the Marine Vessel Emission Reduction Act (S. 1499, Boxer; H.R. 2548 Solis), aimed at establishing cleaner fuel standards for ocean-going vessels transiting in North American waters.  The San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan also will require the use of cleaner fuels in the main and auxiliary engines of ships transiting within 40 miles of the ports.

Heavy Duty Trucks – The ports are presently developing a Clean Trucks Program aimed at reducing air emissions from container-hauling trucks serving the ports by 80 percent within five years.  At the end of the five-year implementation period, all trucks will be required to meet 2007 emissions standards or better.  The future truck fleet serving the port complex will also include trucks powered by liquified natural gas (LNG)..   The California Air Resources Board (CARB) also is in the process of setting new truck rules that propose to achieve the same standards within a similar five-year timeframe.

Celebrating its Centennial in 2007, the Port of Los Angeles is America's premier port.  As the leading seaport in the nation in terms of shipping container volume and cargo value, the Port generates 259,000 regional jobs and $8.4 billion in annual wages and tax revenues.  A proprietary department of the City of Los Angeles, the Port is self-supporting and does not receive taxpayer dollars.  At the Port of Los Angeles, high priority is placed on responsible and sustainable growth initiatives, combined with high security, environmental stewardship and community outreach.  For its industry leading environmental initiatives, the Port received two Environmental Protection Agency awards in 2006.  The Port of Los Angeles – A Cleaner Port.  A Brighter Future.