Monday, November 3, 2014

POLA Data Shows Continued Air Emissions Reductions

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Los Angeles continues to make strides in cutting pollution from ships, trucks, trains, cargo-handling equipment and harbor craft, according to the latest annual inventory of emissions from port-related mobile sources.

The port’s 2013 Inventory of Air Emissions shows the port has set new records with diesel particulate matter down 80 percent, nitrogen oxides (NOx) down 57 percent and sulfur oxides (SOx) down 90 percent over eight years of clean air measures. The findings also reflect progress in curbing greenhouse gases, which are down 23 percent since 2005.

The Inventory of Air Emissions tracks the progress of a comprehensive suite of clean air measures, requirements and incentives to reduce harmful emissions from mobile sources associated with port operations that was passed under the name Clean Air Action Plan in 2006.

The latest findings are based on data from the 2013 calendar year and compared with data collected annually since the baseline year of 2005.

The clean air plan incorporates 2014 and 2023 regional goals for reducing emissions, and the port says it met both diesel particulate matter reduction goals two years ahead of schedule and, as of the 2013 inventory, exceeded the 2023 target of 79 percent. The port surpassed its 2014 NOx reduction goal of 22 percent in 2009 and is two percentage points shy of its 2023 target – 59 percent – for NOx.
The Port of LA also says it’s within three percentage points of its 93 percent SOx reduction target, the same for 2014 and 2023. With two new vessel requirements that took effect Jan. 1, 2014, the port’s expected to meet the goal.

The first requirement is California’s shore power regulation, which establishes rules for container, refrigerated and cruise vessels to run on shore-side electricity while at berth in Los Angeles and five other ports. Plugging into shore power reduces ship engine emissions by up to 95 percent per vessel call.

The second regulation requires ships within 24 nautical miles of California to run on the cleanest available marine fuel whose sulfur content is at or below 0.1 percent. The mandate represents a significant drop from 2012 sulfur content limits of 1.0 percent for marine gas oil and 0.5 percent for marine diesel oil. Effective Jan. 1, 2015, the requirement extends to waters within 200 nautical miles of all of North America.

Currently, only 6.1 percent of all SOx emissions throughout the area surrounding the San Pedro Bay ports are attributable to port operations – down sharply from 25 percent in 2005, according to the air emissions inventory data. Likewise, port-related diesel emissions are now at 4.8 percent, compared with 10 percent; and NOx emissions have shrunk to 3.5 percent from five percent.

The full 200-plus pages of the 2013 air emissions report can be read at