Reducing diesel emissions and greenhouse gases in ports



Stephanie Jones Stebbins, director, seaport environmental and planning programs, Port of Seattle, Seattle, United States of America


The Port of Seattle, Port of Tacoma, and Port Metro Vancouver are continuing their collaborative efforts on the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy to reduce emissions from shipping and port operations in the Georgia Basin–Puget Sound air shed. In developing and implementing the 2007 strategy and likewise its draft 2013 strategy update, the three ports have focused on ensuring that policies are based on a solid scientific foundation, in collaboration and consistent with their long term commitments. The ports partnered with government agencies including: Environment Canada, Metro Vancouver in  Canada, the US Environmental Protection Agency, Washington State Department of Ecology, and Puget Sound Clean Air Agency in the United States. Collectively, the ports and government agencies are referred to as the strategy partners. The core group of this collaboration has worked together for over five years and based its work on detailed, robust maritime emission inventories conducted in both countries.

The voluntary actions in this strategy update are intended to complement regulations and, together with the regulations, achieve the following emission reductions, relative to a 2005 baseline. The reduction of diesel particulate matter (DPM) emissions per tonne of cargo by 75 percent by 2015 and 80 percent by 2020 and also the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per tonne of cargo by 10 percent by 2015 and 15 percent by 2020.

The ports developed inventories of port-related air emissions in 2005 and updated their emissions inventories in 2010 and 2011. The recent inventories show considerable progress in reducing emissions since 2005, and they provide data to identify areas for continued improvement going forward. The emissions inventories and the strategy update cover the following sectors of port-related operations.

Ocean-going vessels

The existing performance measure for 2015, set in 2007, is to meet IMO standards for sulphur content in fuel. Since these standards are now regulatory requirements that established the North American Emission Control Area (ECA), the strategy’s revised target is for vessels to surpass the ECA requirements by burning even lower sulphur content fuel while at berth. The Port of Seattle’s At-Berth Clean Fuels (ABC) programme has been incentivising the burning of cleaner fuels by container carriers and cruise lines since 2009. The use of shore power by cruise vessels also achieves this emission reduction target. In 2015, the second phase of ECA goes into effect which will require the use of fuel with no more than 0.1 percent sulphur content, resulting in the anticipated sunset of the ABC Fuels program. The ECA will make a dramatic impact on DPM emissions. The 2020 target for ocean-going vessels (OGV) shifts to efficiency improvements which will increase focus on GHG and also reduce operating costs for vessels. The target is for port and OGV carriers to participate in port-designed or third party certification programs that promote continuous improvement, such as the Environmental Ship Index (ESI), Green Marine and the Clean Cargo Working Group. It is anticipated that the ports will encourage participation by providing incentives to shipping lines that take part.

Harbour vessels

For purposes of the strategy, this sector is limited to harbour vessels that have portrelated functions. The ports have not been directly involved in harbour vessel-related projects to date. The strategy update calls for both ports and harbour vessels to participate in port-designed or third party certification programs, such as those listed previously. In Seattle, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency will take the lead in conducting annual outreaches to portrelated harbour vessel companies in an effort to achieve strategy update targets that promote engine upgrades and best practices.


To read the full article download PDF

Cookie Policy. This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.