Port of Oakland achieves 86% reduction in diesel emissions

Oakland Estuary, California, Alameda County, USA.

The Port of Oakland and partners have reduced diesel particulate matter emissions (DPM) by 86% over 2005 levels.

Port of Oakland staff announced the findings of the 2020 Seaport Air Emissions Inventory at 16 December’s meeting of the Oakland Board of Port Commissioners.

Inventory results show that the port surpassed all its original goals set in the Maritime Air Quality Improvement Program (MAQIP). 

The goal was an 85% drop in DPM. Nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions were cut by 40% and sulfur oxides were slashed by 95%. All reductions were beyond the original goals.

“This huge reduction in harmful emissions is a tremendous achievement,” said Port Director of Environmental Programs and Planning Richard Sinkoff.

“The port, its partners and the community worked together for more than a decade to improve air quality and support public health through major investments, innovation and commitment.” 

MAQIP was the port’s Master Plan to reduce harmful emissions from maritime operations at the Oakland Seaport, setting 2005 activity as the baseline for comparison and 2020 the final year for reaching the goals. 

The 2020 Seaport Air Emissions Inventory included six categories of mobile sources: ocean-going vessels, harbour craft such as tugboats, cargo-handling equipment, on-road trucks, locomotives and other off-road equipment, such as construction equipment.  

“The port exceeded all emissions reduction goals set in 2008 in the Port’s Maritime Air Quality Policy Statement,” added Port Environmental Planner/Scientist Tracy Fidell. “Reductions for harmful emissions were achieved despite an increase in cargo volume.”  

Container throughput at the Oakland Seaport was almost 8% higher in 2020 than in 2005. 

“The port is moving cargo more efficiently and generating fewer emissions per container compared to 2005,” added Tracy Fidell. 

Port officials recognised BAAQMD (Bay Area Air Quality Management District) WOEIP (West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project), CARB (California Air Resources Board), trucking companies, marine terminal, rail, and tugboat operators, ocean carriers and the local community for all coming together and working diligently to fulfil the commitments outlined in MAQIP. 

“Zero emissions at the Oakland Seaport is our next goal,” said Richard Sinkoff.

“In 2019 we established the Seaport Air Quality 2020 and Beyond Plan; it provides us a pathway to eliminating harmful emissions from maritime activities.” 

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