Green Terminals 2016


The Port of Los Angeles has a 1 megawatt solar installation on its rooftop at its World Cruise Center, and is aiming for 10 megawatts of solar power throughout the port complex by the end of 2018. Photo courtesy of the Port of Los Angeles.

Ports across the Pacific continue to work toward zero emissions with new and emerging technologies in order to stay compliant while remaining competitive.

Christopher Cannon, Chief Sustainability Officer and Director of Environmental Management at the Port of Los Angeles says the Port will celebrate the 10-year anniversary of its Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP) in 2016.

"We've been very fortunate to achieve all of our emission reduction targets for the year 2014, and two of the three emission reduction targets have already been achieved for 2023," he says, "so we've had success with emission reductions, which has led to reduced health risks." In fact from the period 2005-2014, the Port reduced diesel particulate matter by 85 percent, sulphur oxides by 97 percent and nitrogen oxides by 52 percent, and the Port's Clean Truck program has been a major contributor to these outcomes.

Cannon admits there's no such thing as resting on one's laurels when it comes to environmental initiatives. "There are some very tough greenhouse gas standards that have been set by our mayor and our governor and even the President of the United States, so we have to continue working with our tenants, our customers and members of the local community to further reduce emissions," he says. "In order to achieve those things, we're going to have to work more toward less dependence on combustion-based engines and more on electricity and electrification at ports and heavy industry in general."

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In 2011, the City of Los Angeles Harbor Department (Harbor Department) and the Port of Long Beach released a Zero Emission Technologies Roadmap to establish an initial plan for identifying technologies to pursue demonstrations to advance zero emission technology development. In 2015, the Harbor Department followed up that effort with a Zero Emission White Paper to outline a five-year plan for increased testing and demonstration of heavy duty zero emission equipment. So far, the Harbor Department has supplied over $7 million in project funds toward developing zero emission technology for short-haul drayage trucks and on-terminal yard tractors.

Zero emission container movement technologies are showing great promise. Although early tests showed mixed results, by 2020, the Harbor Department, working collaboratively with the Port of Long Beach and several stakeholders and partnerships, hopes to have facilitated testing and development of up to 200 additional zero emission vehicles at the Port of Los Angeles, and to have these vehicles evaluated using a standardized testing protocol developed in partnership with a regional stakeholder group.

For overall Port energy needs, Cannon says energy planning is already underway. "We could triple our electrification needs over the next decade if we transition to electrified equipment," he says. The Port has also begun possibly the first project of its kind that involves testing the use of a micro-grid at one of its terminals for operating electrical equipment. The micro-grid uses solar power and battery storage to operate independent of the main local power grid. Tests are being conducted over the next 18 months. Cannon can see the day where it will be feasible to run an entire terminal, including its lighting and cargo handling operations, exclusively through the micro-grid.

Efforts to keep the water clean is paying off as well. The Port's Water Resources Action Plan was created to identify and control sources of water discharge into the Harbor. "We don't allow ships to exchange Ballast Water in the harbor," says Cannon, for instance. "We rarely exceed water quality standards." In addition, the Port has achieved a near 30 percent reduction in general water usage since 2010. The Port also has several active solar projects, with a plan to install 10 Megawatts into Port buildings by 2018.

A $12 million capital project at the Port of Oakland was completed late last year. Substantial upgrades made at the Ben E. Nutter terminal, operated by Everport Terminal Services, included more than 100 new pieces of cargo-handling equipment (including 11 top handlers, 34 tractors and three forklifts). All container handling equipment is equipped with Tier 4 engines. Rebuilt entrance gates for Harbor truckers we also part of the expenditures.

The US Army Corps of Engineers (COE) is continuing construction on the Middle Harbor Enhancement Area located in the Oakland Harbor. This construction includes bird islands and a small wetland. When final contouring of the shallow water site is complete, the COE will plant eelgrass to accelerate the restoration of the habitat.

With regard to storm water management, the Port is implementing its municipal storm water program that includes discharge detection and elimination, pollution prevention through good housekeeping practices and storm water best management practices and installation of structural post-construction storm water treatment controls where needed. "The Port relies on public education and outreach, inspections and enforcement to achieve the goal of protecting storm water quality," says Richard Sinkoff, Port of Oakland Director of Environmental Programs & Planning.

The Port is currently in the process of updating its Seaport Emission inventory as part of its Maritime Air Quality Improvement Plan. The results of the previous study in 2012 showed the Port decreased its overall seaport diesel particulate matter by 70 percent since 2005. All of the marine terminals are shore power-enabled in keeping with the California Air Resources Board's shore power regulations. In addition to electrifying its berths for vessel shore power, the Port is working with local and state partners to obtain funding to demonstrate zero-emission container handling and truck technology.

On the truck emission front, diesel particulate matter from drayage trucks has decreased by 88 percent. "Through the Port's Truck Management Plan and Port Efficiency Task Force measure, we expect to see improvements to marine terminal operations while decreasing emissions," says Sinkoff.

The Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy initiative originally involved a partnership between the ports of Tacoma, Port Metro Vancouver and Seattle to collectively reduce harmful emissions, with particular emphasis on trucks and vessels. Today, it continues with the Northwest Seaport Alliance as well.

"Even though, prior to the formation of the Northwest Seaport Alliance, we used to be key competitors," says Stephanie Jones Stebbins, Seaport Director of Environmental and Planning for the port of seattle, "we agreed that we would reduce by 2020 our diesel emissions by 80 percent per ton of cargo and our Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 20 percent per ton of cargo." Today, the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma have formed the NWSA, and are managing environmental issues even more collaboratively.

The port of seattle has been working on its ScRAPS program, which currently allows dedicated Port truckers to replace trucks older than 2004 models, with new 2008, 2009 or 2010 models, subsidized by Port grants. Between the first ScRAPS project (2009-2010) and the current ScRAPS project, which began in May 2014 and is still operating, 465 trucks have so far been scrapped. Funding is available to scrap an additional 159 trucks over the next 18 months.

In April, the Port recognized several cruise lines with their Green Gateway Partnership Award. The program was established to recognize cruise companies for their vessels going beyond regulatory requirements with respect to air emissions, wastewater, recycling and many other areas. Applications are reviewed by a third party before awards are given.

Regarding storm water, Stebbins-Jones says the State of Washington advanced treatment systems have been installed in all of the ro/ro terminals managed by the NWSA. In fact, the Port is now creating its own storm water facility so that the storm water fees that normally go to the City of Seattle can be used by the Port to continue to improve storm water treatment initiatives.

In addition, during the past two years, the Port has been running a pilot project at its Terminal 91, called Splash Boxx, in partnership with King Conservation District, Sustainable Seattle, Gealogica LLC, and Splash Boxx LLC. "The roof runoff is collected in recycled shipping containers with different kinds of soils in them to see which soils do the best job at removing pollutants," explains Jones Stebbins.

The information from this study will help shed light on the potential for these bioretention planter boxes to improve water quality of polluted runoff in commercial/industrial areas and whether soil mixes used in rain gardens and bioswales could be improved. In fact, first-year results (June 2015), readings on one of the boxes installed near an industrial building with a zinc-plated roof at Terminal 91, recorded a reduction in zinc going into the water system by 1,000 times, drastically reducing the harmful effect on aquatic life.

Another Terminal 91 cleanup project involved cleaning up a former tank farm so that the land is now available for productive use, and another restorative initiative at Terminal 117 will see the former asphalt plant site be transformed into a 13-acre habitat site. Balancing the creation of new habitat sites while maintaining and expanding industrial usage can be a challenge but the Port has systematically found a way to do both with careful planning.

The Port is also working to build 40 acres of habitat in the green Duwamish Watershed over the next several years. "The port of seattle is the only major Port in the Country with an active salmon run returning through our waterways, as well as active tribal fishing," says Jones Stebbins. "People think of the Duwamish River as mainly an industrial river but there are all kinds of sea life in it." The project has involved the community from the beginning. "We had a lot of input into the design of public access that would go along with the habitat site," she says.

Community involvement is also extended through Port 101 tours, where a special vessel takes members of the public and other stakeholders on facility tours, with a number of environmental experts as well as First Nations representatives and community leaders taking part. "Ports have to be so sophisticated about stakeholder outreach," says Jones Stebbins, "as there are very high expectations."

Port Metro Vancouver continues working on its goals under the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy and, in addition, it has seen success with its EcoAction Program, which provides discounted Harbor dues for ships calling the Port that voluntarily reduce air emissions through clean technology, alternative fuels or third party environmental designations.

The EcoAction program was initiated in 2007 in advance of the incoming Emission Control Area (ECA) regulations. Vessels applied for and obtained discounts on Harbor dues when they could demonstrate early adoption of the ECA regulations. Now that the ECA is fully in force, Ronan Chester, Manager, Strategic Environmental Initiatives, Environmental Programs, says the Port has found that an increasing number of ships have been participating through use of third party environmental designations such as the Environmental Ship Index or Right Ship.

Shore power at the Port's Canada Place cruise terminal has seen a reduction of 14,000 tons of CO2 since its inception in 2009. The Port also began a project in 2015 to install shore power at two container terminals; Centerm Container Terminal, Berth Five and Deltaport's third berth. As Chester reports, Port studies indicate that more containerships will have the capability for shore power by 2020.

The Port has also initiated a Non-Road Diesel Emissions program (NRDE) where fees are charged to tenants for operation of older equipment. Chester says it's among the first port-led programs of its kind, designed to reduce diesel particulate emissions from cargo handling equipment. "Terminal operators have to track the hours they operate equipment, report and pay the fee," he says. "When that piece of equipment is retired or replaced with new equipment, they can receive 80 percent of the fee back toward the cost of the new equipment." The NRDE program was launched after an extensive two-year consultation process with external stakeholders and Port tenants.

While the Port has been tracking and reporting its greenhouse gas emissions for several years, it is also working in partnership with an organization called ClimateSmart that trains Port staff and tenants on how to reduce costs while measuring their carbon footprint. "We're inviting our tenants to join the ClimateSmart initiative and will subsidize the cost of participating in the training workshops," says Chester. "It builds capacity, provides tenants with a GHG inventory tool, and facilitates a port peer group as well."

The Port's Energy Action Initiative is also paying off by reducing electricity usage among Port tenants who receive support from the Port's Industrial Energy Management Specialist and financial incentives through BC Hydro's Power Smart program. The use of LED lighting is just one of the priorities that are helping the Port's overall efforts in energy conservation. Chester is looking forward to finding out whether the Port's overall emissions reductions goals have been achieved once the latest five-year port emissions inventory report (2010-2015) is completed.

The Port of San Francisco is a very big real estate port, with about 500 tenants. As Richard Berman, Environmental Manager says, the Port customizes environmental requirements for all tenants as needed.

Nine years ago, the Port Commission adopted a special policy called Environmental Financial Assurance, which gives the Port the authority to assess prospective tenants for unusual environmental risks that would overwhelm a traditional security deposit. "The policy allows us to craft additional financial insurance around these particular environmental risks," he says. "It's only on occasion that we actually need it but it's a great way to get the attention of a new tenant."

The Port has also adopted a zero waste event policy for special events, such as the America's Cup race and marathons, etc. The policy prohibits the public from using single-use plastic bags, plastic food ware and plastic bottles. The Port also has about 30 tenants who are covered by the State of California industrial storm water permit. Shore power was first offered for cruise ships in 2010 at Pier 27. This is also the location of the James R. Herman Cruise Terminal at Pier 27, which opened in 2014. The facility is a LEED building. In addition, there are also other shore power facilities, including the ship repair facility at Pier 70 and at the cargo terminal at Pier 80.

The Port of San Francisco is a department within the City and County of San Francisco and the Department of Environment is the environmental policy source for most of the City and County. Berman says the City of San Francisco requires that every department be actively involved in trying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – an initiative called Zero-50-100-Roots campaign. "The idea is to create zero waste, make 50 percent of your trips using sustainable modes of transportation and to get 100 percent of your building energy from renewable, clean resources," says Berman. "The Root part involves carbon sequestration through the planting of trees and native plants because soil has that capacity to fix carbon out of the atmosphere."

Earlier this year, the Port, through the Port Commission, adopted the Port of San Francisco Strategic Plan for 2016 to 2021, which identifies seven major goals; one being sustainability. "Sustainability objectives begin by embracing the Zero-50-100 Roots program and implementing leasing and development policies that are sustainable, employing best management practices in port operations, green buildings, etc., and for Port tenants and developers to minimize carbon emissions and maximize carbon capture," says Berman. As part of the tracking for this initiative, the Port gathers numbers across a variety of areas around emissions, electricity usage, etc. In fact, the 2012/2013 fiscal year saw overall CO2 emissions reduced by 30 percent, mostly due to the zero emissions associated with hydro‐electric power and natural gas reduced demand and efficiencies.

The Port has also been investigating the use of non-petroleum renewable diesel for all of its equipment and vehicles. Between April and December, 2015, the Port took part in an Electric Vehicle Autonomous Rechargeable (Charger) Station (EV ARC) demonstration in an area about the size of a typical parking lot space with a pole that supports a set of solar panels. It has the ability to track the sun, charge a battery and store that energy for when an electrical vehicle is parked there. "We're going to have at least one of these EV ARCs on Port property," says Berman. "This is an incentive to invest in more electric vehicles for all the driving Port staff does. We have about seven and a half miles of waterfront. We make a lot of very short trips and this is the ideal kind of driving for electric fleets."

In addition to shore power at the Port Metro Vancouver's Canada Place cruise terminal, the port also began a project in 2015 to install shore power at two container terminals. Centerm Container Terminal, Berth Five and Deltaport's third berth. Photo courtesy of Port Metro Vancouver.


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