Port of Oakland Emissions Drop Dramatically


Diesel emissions from trucks serving the Port of Oakland declined 98% between 2005 and 2015. In that same timeframe, ship emissions dropped 75%.

The results indicate the Port is advancing its 2008 commitment to reduce seaport-related diesel health risk by 85% by the year 2020.

The Port said that an analysis of the 2015 Emissions Inventory shows a 76% decrease in total diesel emissions at the Oakland Seaport. Richard Sinkoff, Director of Environmental Programs and Planning at the Port, said: “This is a significant achievement,

“The reduction in seaport diesel emissions is important because it’s closely related to reducing health risk for our neighboring communities.”

According to the Port’s study, truck Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM) emissions have decreased from 16 tons in 2005 to 0.4 tons in 2015. Overall DPM emissions decreased from 261 tons to 63 tons. DPM exposure has been linked to increasing health risk for lung cancer.

The Port listed a number of contributing factors to its emissions improvements:

  • a US$38 million grant program to upgrade and replace the oldest trucks operating at the Port;
  • a ban on trucks that aren’t compliant with statewide emissions requirements;
  • shipping lines switching to cleaner burning, low sulfur fuel; and
  • a $60 million project to construct a power grid that ships can plug into at berth rather than relying on auxiliary diesel engines.

Chris Lytle, Executive Director at the Port of Oakland said: “The work and investments by the Port and our partners have nearly eliminated Port truck emissions and greatly reduced other emissions,

“But we’re not done – we’ll keep working to minimise the potential impact that trade has on our community.”

The Port and environmental consultant Ramboll Environ compiled and calculated emissions data for 2015 from ships, harbour craft, cargo handling equipment, trucks, and locomotives. Here’s the breakdown of Diesel Particulate Matter emissions improvement:

  • Trucks – DPM down 98%
  • Locomotives – DPM down 89%
  • Cargo handling equipment – DPM down 82%
  • Ocean going vessels – DPM down 75%
  • Harbour Craft – DPM down 53%

The Port said its 2009 Maritime Air Quality Improvement Plan has been the biggest factor in curbing diesel emissions. The plan was adopted to reduce the health risk from diesel emissions. It was developed in conjunction with nearby residents, the US Environmental Protection Agency, California Air Resources Board, Bay Area Air Quality Management District, trucking companies, marine terminal operators, railroads and ocean carriers.

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