New Guide Helps Ports and Terminals Clean the Air and Save Energy

A new EDF guide shows ways  Ports and Terminals can save energy and clean up the air.

A new EDF guide shows ways ports and terminals can save energy and clean up the air.

The freight transportation industry is growing – and so is interest in adopting environmentally-friendly green freight approaches.

That’s why EDF is proud to release its new Clean Air Guide for Ports & Terminals: Technologies and Strategies to Reduce Emissions and Save Energy. The guide highlights institutional frameworks, technology upgrades, and operational improvements that have been effective in reducing energy use and harmful emissions from the freight industry. Landlord ports, operating ports, and marine terminal operators will all find models of initiatives they can implement at their own facilities. Community and advocacy groups also can identify best practices in the industry and work with their port partners to collaboratively implement some of these strategies at a nearby terminal.

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The easy-to-use guide is organized by transport mode: trucks, vessels, cargo equipment, rail, and harbor craft. Each strategy presented for one of these modes is accompanied by a description of the practice, an implementation example, and benefits and considerations associated with the strategy. For example, the guide explains how slow-steaming for ocean-going vessels is a way to reduce speed near a port and provide air and fuel benefits.

Many of the operational strategies identified target efficiency improvements. These improvements carry the benefit of reducing overall operational costs because fewer resources like time and fuel are needed – which means those savings can be used to invest in even more clean air projects. When a terminal is saving money and cleaning the air at the time, the decision to implement is clear. For other clean air or efficiency projects where savings are not as immediate, funding is a key consideration. The guide addresses how to secure and coordinate resources for these investments.

Fortunately, attention to the link between air quality, public health, and freight operations is growing nationwide, along with the need to address goods movement efficiency bottlenecks and energy costs. Business partners are looking for sustainable transport options and community groups are looking for safe and healthy neighbors. Following these trends, many marine ports and terminals have already taken important steps to clean up old diesel equipment and making operational improvements.

Here in Texas, the Port of Houston Authority has been successful in advancing some clean air projects, like the retirement of old, highly polluting trucks, but much more remains to be done. The port is expected to release an updated emissions inventory soon, which is one of the strategies highlighted in the Clean Air Guide, and will subsequently be looking for new emissions reduction opportunities. The Clean Air Guide offers some proven best practices to help that effort.

The freight industry has an enormous opportunity ahead. The Panama Canal expansion may generate new business by opening new trade options. The proposed new greenhouse gas standards for heavy-duty trucks will improve fuel efficiency for the workhorses of the freight industry. Ports and terminals can and will be a major part of the transformation toward more sustainable freight. And the Clean Air Guide is one helpful step in that direction.

Please download the guide, use it, and let us know how it’s been helpful!

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