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Port of Oakland diesel emissions down 81% since 2005

Diesel particulate emissions from Port of Oakland maritime operations are down 81% since 2005. As a result, the port expressed confidence in reaching a self-imposed target of 85% emissions reduction by 2020.

“We continue to make progress toward the goal we have set,” said Port of Oakland environmental programs and planning director Richard Sinkoff. “With cooperation from our partners in the cargo-moving business we firmly believe we’ll fulfill our commitment to cleaner air in Oakland and in our region.”

San Francisco Bay Area environmental consultancy Ramboll reported Oakland’s improvement in a 100-page emissions inventory of 2017 Port activity. The results show a 5% drop in seaport emissions in the past two years.

According to the Ramboll report, Oakland diesel emissions have plummeted since 2005 despite a 6% volume increase. It attributed the improvement to a series of developments, including: a port program that purged older, exhaust-belching big rigs from the fleet of trucks hauling containers in Oakland; regulations that require containerships to use cleaner-burning low sulphur fuel and switch off engines and plug into landside power while at berth; and fewer vessel and truck visits to the port.

Ramboll reported that vessel traffic in Oakland has declined 15% since 2005, even though cargo volume is up thanks to ever larger ships calling. Truck traffic is down by more than 500,000 trips a year.

Last month, the port publicly previewed the draft of a new clean air plan intended to extend its emissions reduction program for decades. The air quality blueprint reiterates Oakland’s 2020 commitment and proposes new emissions control measures for diesel and greenhouse gases. The plan is undergoing community review. It’s expected to be finalised by year end.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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