By Mark Edward Nero
Diesel emissions from drayage trucks serving the Port of Oakland dropped 98 percent between 2005 and 2015, and ship emissions fell 75 percent during that same timeframe, according to an annual emissions inventory released by the port Oct. 28.
The results indicate the port is advancing its 2008 commitment to reduce seaport-related diesel health risk by 85 percent by the year 2020.
The port said that an analysis of its 2015 Emissions Inventory shows a 76 percent decrease in total diesel emissions at Oakland.
“This is a significant achievement,” said Richard Sinkoff, Director of Environmental Programs and Planning at the port. “The reduction in seaport diesel emissions is important because it’s closely related to reducing health risk for our neighboring communities.”
According to the port’s study, truck diesel particulate matter (DPM) emissions have decreased from 16 tons in 2005 to 0.4 tons in 2015, while overall DPM emissions decreased from 261 tons to 63 tons.
DPM exposure has been linked to increasing health risk for lung cancer.
The port and environmental consultant Ramboll Environ compiled and calculated emissions data for 2015 from ships, harbor craft, cargo handling equipment, trucks, and locomotives.
In addition to DPM from trucks being down 98 percent, DPM from locomotives, cargo handling equipment, oceangoing vessels and harbor craft were down 89 percent, 82 percent, 75 percent and 53 percent respectively, according to the data.
The port listed a number of contributing factors to its emissions improvements, including: a $38 million grant program to upgrade and replace the oldest trucks operating at the port; a ban on trucks that aren’t compliant with statewide emissions requirements; and shipping lines switching to cleaner burning, low sulfur fuel.
Also cited as a reason was a $60 million project to construct a power grid that ships can plug into at berth rather than relying on auxiliary diesel engines.
“The work and investments by the port and our partners have nearly eliminated port truck emissions and greatly reduced other emissions,” Port of Oakland Executive Director Chris Lytle said. “But we’re not done – we’ll keep working to minimize the potential impact that trade has on our community.”
The port first placed a big emphasis on diesel emissions reductions with its 2009 Maritime Air Quality Improvement Plan, which was adopted to reduce the health risk from diesel emissions.