Port of Oakland Reports Huge Decline in Diesel Emissions

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November 1, 2016

Photo credit: Port of Oakland

The Port of Oakland has reported huge declines in diesel emissions from both ships and trucks as part of a long-term plan to enhance air quality for communities surrounding the West Coast deepwater port. 

The findings were revealed with the release of an emissions inventory study released by the port on Friday. The study showed that diesel emissions from trucks serving the Port of Oakland declined 98 percent between 2005 and 2015, while ship emissions dropped 75 percent. The figures make for a 76 percent decrease in total diesel emissions at the Oakland seaport.

The port authority said the results indicate the port is advancing its 2008 commitment to reduce seaport-related diesel health risk by 85 percent by the year 2020.

“This is a significant achievement,” said Richard Sinkoff, Director of Environmental Programs and Planning at the Port of Oakland. “The reduction in seaport diesel emissions is important because it’s closely related to reducing health risk for our neighboring communities.”

According to the study, truck Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM) emissions have decreased from 16 tons in 2005 to 0.4 tons in 2015, with overall DPM emissions decreasing from 261 tons to 63 tons. DPM exposure has been linked to increasing health risk for lung cancer.

The Port of Oakland 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, shipping lines switching to low sulfur fuel, and a $60 million shore power project to develop plug-in power at vessel berths.

“The work and investments by the Port and our partners have nearly eliminated Port truck emissions and greatly reduced other emissions,” said Chris Lytle, Port of Oakland Executive Director. “But we’re not done – we’ll keep working to minimize the potential impact that trade has on our community.”

The Port and environmental consultant Ramboll Environ compiled and calculated emissions data for 2015 from ships, harbor craft, cargo handling equipment, trucks, and locomotives.

The Port of Oakland offered the following breakdown of Diesel Particulate Matter emissions improvement:

  • Trucks – DPM down 98%
  • Locomotives – DPM down 89%
  • Cargo handling equipment – DPM down 82%
  • Ocean going vessels – DPM down 75%
  • Harbor Craft – DPM down 53%

The Port attributed its 2009 Maritime Air Quality Improvement Plan, adopted to reduce the health risk from diesel emissions, as the biggest factor in curbing diesel emissions.

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