For the first time, the Port of Long Beach has achieved all of the 2023 emission-reduction goals outlined in the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan, despite moving record volumes of containerized cargo.
The Port’s annual emissions inventory report, presented to the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners on Thursday, found diesel soot is down 90%, smog-forming nitrogen oxides have decreased 62%, and sulfur oxides have decreased 97%, all while container throughput has increased 21%. The pollution levels are all compared to the 2005 baseline, the year before the original San Pedro Bay Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP) was adopted.
Several unique factors affected activity, efficiency, and thus emissions in 2020, largely related to the COVID-19 pandemic. These included the stoppage of cruise ship passenger operations in mid-March and fewer oil tankers calling the Port.
“We celebrate this success, but our ultimate goal is still to be an emissions-free port,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Steven Neal. “No one should doubt this, and we are continuing to invest in the technology needed for cleaner equipment.”
The 2017 CAAP Update incorporates numerous strategies to reduce emissions from port-related operations in San Pedro Bay. The Technology Advancement Program nurtures the development of technology to support the development of equipment and reach the CAAP’s emissions targets. Approximately 16% of the cargo-handling fleet at the Port, or about 235 pieces of equipment, is powered by electricity today.
“We are absolutely committed to showing the way forward for sustainable goods movement,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. “At the same time, our industry partners and other stakeholders deserve a great deal of credit for cleaning the air. We could not have accomplished this without a shared commitment to cleaner operations.”
Greenhouse gas emissions increased 7% between 2019 and 2020. Officials connected the increase in emissions to cargo-handling equipment and heavy-duty truck activity related to record activity in 2020.
The annual emissions inventory is reviewed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, California Air Resources Board and South Coast Air Quality Management District.