Monday, October 5, 2015

POLA Sees Record Pollutant Reductions

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Los Angeles has set new records for cutting harmful emissions from port-related sources, findings from a 10th straight year of tracking air pollution show.

The ports 2014 Air Emissions Inventory, which was released Oct. 1, reports NOx emissions are down 52 percent, while diesel particulate matter is down an unprecedented 85 percent and sulfur oxides are bordering on total elimination, having plummeted 97 percent since 2005.

The data shows that the port has surpassed its 2014 emission reduction goals set in 2010 for DPM, SOx and nitrogen oxides.

Our aggressive clean air program at the Port shows that we can grow our economy while reducing pollutants up to 97 percent, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement. Overall, the business of moving cargo through America's no. 1 container port is cleaner than ever.

The detailed inventory measures emissions of key pollutants from ships, trucks, locomotives, cargo handling equipment and small harbor craft. The latest findings are based on data collected during calendar year 2014. The baseline is 2005, the year before the landmark San Pedro Bay Clean Air Action Plan was adopted, allowing the port to measure the full impact of the comprehensive program from the start.

The port attributes much of the progress in 2014 to vessel emission reduction measures. Leading programs include plugging into shore power under the states at-berth regulation, which took effect Jan. 1, 2014. At least half of most container, refrigerated and cruise ships calling at Californias six largest ports are now required to run their auxiliary engines on shore-based electricity, which eliminates virtually all emissions while a vessel is at berth.

Also in 2014, the state required vessels entering California waters to switch to the cleanest available marine fuel. As of Jan. 1, 2014, ships must run on fuel whose sulfur content is at or below 0.1 percent within 24 nautical miles of the California coast. The regulation took effect a full year ahead of a requirement now in place out to 200 nautical miles for all North America.

Vessels also played a major role in a six percent uptick of NOx emissions at the port in 2014. During a temporary period of congestion in the last quarter of the year, container ships waiting at anchor increased 69 percent from the previous year. Since plugging into shore-based electricity to power auxiliary engines was not an option, emissions increased.

The short-lived situation, which carried over into the first quarter of 2015, is expected to be a factor in next years inventory.