Air pollution from Port-related sources continues to drop as cargo rebounds at the Port of Los Angeles. New data shows that from 2005 to 2011, cumulative harmful emissions at America’s No. 1 trade gateway plunged as much as 76 percent while container volumes increased 6 percent. On a year-to-year basis, there has been a decrease up to 7 percent of harmful emissions.
The latest data also shows the Port is three years ahead of year 2014 targets it set for reducing two key pollutants – diesel particulate matter (DPM) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) – and the Port is on track to meet more stringent 2023 emission reduction goals.
"Cargo volume is growing and air pollution is shrinking," said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. "By growing sustainably, we’re moving the needle in the right direction for our economy and our quality of life."
Released today, the Port’s 2011 Inventory of Air Emissions reflects the increasing sustainability of operations at the Port, said Port Executive Director Geraldine Knatz, Ph.D. The substantial investment the Port and its partners have made in clean air continues to pay off, she said.
"By developing and executing our Clean Air Action Plan and fine-tuning our pollution reduction strategies on a regular basis, we are cutting harmful air emissions from ships, trains, trucks, harbor craft and cargo-handling equipment while operating a prosperous, world-class seaport," said Knatz. "Our customers and industry stakeholders – which run the operations that keep the cargo moving through Los Angeles – also play a substantial role in this positive trend through their investments in cleaner equipment and more sustainable practices."
The new Inventory of Air Emissions reports data from the 2011 calendar year and compares it with data collected annually since the baseline year of 2005. The data shows the Port has achieved the greatest clean air gains in reducing emissions of sulfur oxides (SOx). SOx emissions, as measured in metric tons, plummeted 76 percent over the seven-year period.
Over the same period, the Port slashed DPM emissions 71 percent and emissions from related pollutants (PM10 and PM2.5) 71 percent and 69 percent while NOx emissions dropped 51 percent. SOx and NOx are key components of smog, and DPM is an identified toxic air contaminant and known carcinogen.
The findings also reflect the Port’s success in cutting greenhouse gas emissions associated with climate change. From 2005 to 2011, carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent emissions – a measure of CO2, nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane (CH4) emissions combined – fell 19 percent. View the 2011 Air Quality Report Card here.
Clean-air strategies building on the Port’s success include its Vessel Speed Reduction Program; low-sulfur fuel requirements for ships; the Clean Truck Program whose final ban on drayage trucks with pre-2007 engines took effect Jan. 1, 2012; engine retrofits and gradual vessel replacement of older harbor craft; retrofit and turnover of cargo handling equipment; and replacement of older rail equipment with cleaner line haul and switcher locomotives.
The inventory uses detailed records of the age and activity of vessels, trucks, trains and yard equipment to measure emissions. Calculations are based on a methodology developed in collaboration with regional, state and federal air regulatory agencies to ensure accuracy and credibility.
To validate the trend in decreasing air pollution, emissions are also calculated on a per-unit-of-cargo basis, which accounts for fluctuations in cargo volumes. On a ton per 10,000 TEU (20-foot equivalent unit) basis, the seven-year gains are even more significant: 77 percent reduction in SOx; 73 percent reduction in DPM and PM10; 71 percent reduction in PM2.5; 54 percent reduction in NOx; and 24 percent reduction in CO2 equivalent emissions.
Based on the 2011 data, the Port is in line to meet self-imposed goals of cutting DPM emissions 72 percent and has exceeded its goal of curbing NOx emissions 22 percent by 2014. The data also shows the Port is close to achieving its 2023 standards of reducing DPM emissions 77 percent; NOx emissions 59 percent; and SOx emissions 93 percent.
Overall, the 2011 inventory confirms that regional air pollution attributable to Port operations is shrinking. In 2011, 9 percent of all SOx emissions in the South Coast Air Basin were associated with Port operations – a nearly two-thirds drop from 25 percent in 2005. Likewise, DPM emissions from the Port as a percentage of total DPM in the region shrunk to 3 percent in 2011 – down from 10 percent in 2005. NOx emissions from Port-related sources were 3 percent in 2011 – down from 5 percent in 2005.
The data documents the Port’s forward momentum and steadfast commitment to reducing – and eliminating, whenever possible – all harmful air emissions associated with its operations. "There’s no turning back," said Knatz. "The benefits of environmental stewardship are clear and the Port will continue to lead the industry by growing green through innovation and collaboration with our stakeholders and partners."
The Port of Los Angeles is America’s premier port and has a strong commitment to developing innovative strategic and sustainable operations that benefit the economy as well as the quality of life for the region and the nation it serves. As the leading seaport in North America in terms of shipping container volume and cargo value, the Port generates more than 830,000 regional jobs and $35 billion in annual wages and tax revenues. The Port of Los Angeles – A cleaner port. A brighter future.