Pacific Maritime Magazine - Marine Business for the Operations Sector

Green Terminals


May 1, 2018

The Clean Truck program at Seattle and Tacoma has reduced emissions by upgrading trucks to 2007 engine standards. Photo courtesy of the Northwest Seaport Alliance.

In November of 2017, the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and their industry partners, approved an update of the Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP) toward further green technology efforts in the region.

"We believe this CAAP update allows us to take the next step in our ongoing efforts to reduce emissions at the ports," says Chris Cannon, Director of Environmental Management at the Port of Los Angeles. "We've now added, Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) as an expressed goal for emission reduction in addition to health risk and criteria pollutants."

The CAAP program started 12 years ago, and since that time, its purpose has been to identify programs to reduce emissions from port-related operations.

The Port is committed to testing all-electric equipment in pursuit of zero emissions. A number of tests have been carried out on small equipment, and now, larger machinery tests are in the prototype phase.

By 2030, the Port is estimating it will have its terminals running at zero emissions, and by 2035, drayage trucks will also operate on zero emissions technologies. "This is something the mayor has said is a top priority here for environmental programs," says Cannon.

Cannon reports that programs to reduce surface water runoff and discharge from various sources into the Bay have been very successful. "As a result of that, and ongoing programs we have working with tenants, we rarely exceed water quality standards here in the Harbor. We have a thriving biological habitat for fish and plant life and marine plant life," he adds.

Off-Grid Energy

Two innovative environmental projects are now being implemented. One includes installing solar panels on the roofs of the warehouses at the Pasha Terminal, which is a Green Omni Terminal (accepts container, cargo and bulk freight cargo). Solar power will be harvested and stored in onsite large industrial batteries that can handle up to 2 megawatts, that will enable equipment operating at the terminal to be zero emissions and run 24/7.

"They'll be able to plug into this battery storage device and it will allow the terminal to operate completely off the grid, which we believe is a model for all kinds of industrial facilities, not just at a port," says Cannon. "We believe no other terminal in the world will do that. Is under development, and over the next 18 months, we think it will be operational."

In what Cannon believes is another first, the Port will work alongside its Evergreen Terminal to test yard trucks by comparing the use of renewable natural gas versus battery-electric power.

At the same terminal testing the world's first battery-electric top handlers is also being done. "Up until now, it's been thought there's not a battery big enough to do it. We think we've found a battery solution with the help of a battery company from China," explains Cannon. "We think it's going to be one of the most advanced and forward-thinking operations here at the Port as far as testing zero emissions equipment. The micro grid will be able to operate without using any [outside] power, which could also be important in the event of a natural disaster."

BC Power

Next year, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority will celebrate 10 years offering shore power to shore power-enabled cruise vessels, and by the end of this year, two container terminals at the Centerm Terminal at DeltaPort will also offer shore power.

The Port Authority was the first in Canada to install shore power in 2009, and usage has steadily increased over the decade. Approximately 40 percent of total calls use shore power. "There's one plug at each berth, but there's also just one ship at each berth. It works well. We try to align the vessels that are shore-power enabled with the equipment so if they're able to, they can plug in," says Carmen Ortega, Manager of Trade Development.

This year, a new-to-the-port, shore power-enabled Norwegian Jewel is also coming to call. "The ships are all configured differently where the plugs are located, so we just have to do some work on our part to make sure we can make the equipment align with their plugs," says Ortega.

While using shore power is not a Port requirement, programs like the Port's EcoAction Incentive program provide up to 50 percent reduction in Harbor dues for marine carriers that participate.

The Port also offers the Blue Circle Award, which recognizes the lines that participate in the EcoAction program. Vessel operators can apply for the program at each call or provide an annual declaration for their vessels.

Since 2009, the Port Authority has seen 493 successful connections out of 624 calls that are able to connect, which equates to a total of 58,000 tons of fuel savings, more than 18,000 tons of GHG emission reductions and 524 tons of air pollutant reductions.

The Port is expecting another successful season, with eight percent growth this year. "The cruise lines in general do a good job of looking into green technologies like scrubbers," says Ortega. "It's great to be able to recognize them through our fees but also through the Blue Circle Awards that we have."

Noise reduction is also a focus in the effort to help the environment. Last year, the Port embarked on a voluntary vessel slow-down trial as part of the Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation (ECHO) Program, initiated in 2014, in order to better understand the impact of shipping activities – the region's at-risk whale population. "There was around a 60 percent participation rate across all our shipping lines," says Ortega. "For a voluntary program, it was quite successful."

Cleaner Air

In late March, the Puget Sound Maritime Air Forum released its emissions inventory report showing that some air pollutants from ocean-going vessels have decreased by 97 percent between 2005 and 2016.

The Forum, which consists of seven Puget Sound ports, three industrial partners, and six government agencies, are working hard to make the region as green as possible.

In 2007, the port of seattle seaport, the Port of Tacoma and Port Metro Vancouver, Canada, initiated the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy. The goal of the Strategy is to reduce diesel and greenhouse gas emissions in advance of, and complementary to, applicable regulations.

The ports have worked with the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, the US EPA, Environment Canada, Washington State Department of Ecology, and industry and community stakeholders to craft and implement the strategy. While the strategy outlines shared performance measures, each port has implemented emission reduction programs appropriate to its operations.

Every five years since 2005, the numbers demonstrate that much progress has been made. "With this 2016 report, we've seen reductions in sulphur and associated particular matter emissions that can cause respiratory irritation," says Sara Cederberg, Senior Manager, Air Quality and Sustainable Practices for the Northwest Seaport Alliance.

On the oceangoing vessel side, the North American Emission Control Area came into effect in 2015, mandating that within 200 miles of the US and Canadian coastlines, vessels must burn ultra-low sulphur fuel. "We've measure everything from the J-buoy out at the end of the straight of Juan de Fuca in our inventory," says Cederberg, "and we've seen a huge amount of emission reduction from transiting vessels."

On the land side, there have also been lower sulphur fuel standards put in place for diesel, for both on-road and off-road from truck emissions and also from equipment on terminals.

The Clean Truck program at the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma has shown a reduction of emissions by upgrading trucks to 2007 engine standards which are about 90 percent cleaner than older models.

"Overall, we've seen a huge reduction in particulate matter, so much so that we've met the goals of our Northwest Clean Air Strategy four years ahead of schedule," says Cederberg. "We've also seen a slight decrease in GHG emissions. But those emissions are pretty closely tied to activity levels. As our operations continue to grow, we'll be looking at different strategies to help reduce both diesel particulate matter and greenhouse gas emissions."

This year, for the first time, the inventory includes black carbon emissions, however, additional research is needed on estimating black carbon because there are few widely agreed upon emission factors for mobile sources.

The collaboration of stakeholders in this effort has resulted in partnerships that may not otherwise have come to work closely together, says Cederberg. "We've been able to accomplish a lot more through this collaboration."

Carrier Incentives

The Port of Prince Rupert and its partners work closely together to reduce carbon emissions from port-related operations. For example, the Fairview Container Terminal is shore power ready. Terminal partners are continually investing in new green technologies that increase fuel efficiency with vehicles and equipment. And the Port's Green Wave program offers shipping lines financial incentives that reward cleaner and quieter vessels.

In addition, ongoing measurements of particulate matter are carried out regularly at the Port's Westview Terminal, which draws volumes of air in and measures the concentrations of PM10 and PM2.5 in the air. There are many sources of variances in readings due to regional area influences as well as other factors, which requires long term monitoring to assess how best to reduce particulate matter as much as possible.

The Port's Invasive Species program, which began in 2012, is a partnership with the Northwest Community College, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the Invasive Tunicate Network's Plate Watch program. "To date, we have not seen any invasive species in the harbor," reports Jason Scherr, Manager, Environmental Sustainability. Invasive species have several modes of transport, including Tsunami drift, fishing vessels, tugs, barges and commercial vessels, he points out.

"We use the Plate Watch program to look for tunicates which are sea squirts and some of those invasive species that can impact shellfish harvest operations," he explains. "The other invasive species that we're looking for, with a small boat with traps, is the European green crab, which started down in California and has been working its way up the coast. We have not yet seen any green crab here, but we know they're down in the central coast, so we're keeping an eye out for when they may show up at a certain point."

Scherr reports that a partnership to monitor marine water quality has been in place for six years, that samples approximately 30 sites around the harbour. "We've also been working with other partners to map shorelines on the North Coast, taking high digital imagery and then classifying either physical or biological attributes," he says.

Next year, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority will celebrate 10 years offering shore power to shore power-enabled cruise vessels. Photos courtesy of the Port of Vancouver.

The Port's Marine Mammal program was launched in 2015 with participation from members of the Port Environmental Stewardship Committee. Various partners work to gather data and educate mariners about the dangers of vessel collisions and noise impact on the regions whales, porpoises and dolphins.

In fact, last spring, in partnership with the Port of Vancouver, DFO and the Vancouver Aquarium, the Port released the Mariner's Guide to Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises of Western Canada. The guide also provides information on how to report sightings. In 2017, the Port of Prince Rupert added underwater noise criteria to its Green Wave incentive program.

"There are no regulations around underwater noise," says Scherr. "The addition of underwater noise to incentive programs is something very new. Ourselves and the Port of Vancouver are taking the first steps in terms of leading that."


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