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Maritime Logistics Professional

Ports and carriers make huge strides in cutting pollution

Posted to Martin Rushmere (by on January 30, 2012

But will it be enough for the bureaucrats?

The anti-pollution brigade continues to rule the waves in port planning in California, imposing ever more strict standards every year. A conference/workshop in Long Beach earlier this month shows just how well the industry has done in keeping up with these demands.

Long Beach is a prime example. Diesel smog is down 72 percent, two years ahead of the deadline, while Nox is down by 46 percent (2014 reduction – 22 percent) and Sox down 73 percent (2014 – 93 percent). CO is down by 47 percent and hydrocarbons by 43 percent, according to Rick Cameron, director of environmental planning.

APL shows what is being done by the carriers. At Oakland, cold ironing began three years ahead of requirements. Four berths at LA are slated for cold ironing, the last being scheduled in 2014. Adapting vessels to cold ironing costs $2 million per ship. By 2014, 60 percent of vessels calling at Oakland will be using shoreside power (reducing emissions by 50 percent) while 50 percent of ships calling at LA will be plugged in (also reducing emissions by 50 percent – which of course has more vessel calls.

APL is telling California's Air Resources Board this year that a three-hour connect/disconnect is too strict – a fact that lines have been trying to convey to the authorities for some time.

Ashebir Jacob of Moffatt and Nichol took an unusual approach to slow steaming effects. The cumulative savings of a vessel traveling at 17.5 knots which is unloaded by a quay crane at 40 moves per hour will be about $20/ TEU, while 150,000 metric tons of CO2 will be saved.

At APM's Virginia terminal, operations are 90 percent automated and have cut truck idling time by at least 30 percent. Container stacking produces no emissions and is automated to all intents and purposes. Ship-to-shore cranes and rail-mounted gantries use what can be most accurately as recycled electric power – the power is returned to the electric grid.  The bottom line is that fuel consumption in operations has been reduced by 70 percent, while diesel emissions are down by 80 percent.

Those are all impressive achievements. But the industry has become cynical and disenchanted with bureaucrats and regulators and there is a lingering feeling that every time a new saving is made, the bureaucrats will make the requirements even stricter.

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