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Clean Air Projects Honored by Ports

Terminals, trucking line, railroad win awards for air quality excellence

August 5, 2009

Eight local maritime firms were recognized at the second annual San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan Air Quality Awards on Aug. 4, 2009 for taking extraordinary steps to slash air pollution from their business operations. The award-winning businesses include six marine terminal operators, a trucking line and a railroad company in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. See the list of winners.

When the ports adopted the Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP) in 2006 to cut pollution nearly by half by 2012, they called for the goods movement industry to join in the cause by going above and beyond the basic requirements of the plan. As shown by the five winners in the inaugural CAAP awards last year and the eight winners this year, businesses are heeding the call. 

“The Clean Air Action Plan is well on track to reach its goal of cutting air pollution by 45 percent, thanks in large part to the enthusiastic participation of companies like the eight we honored today,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Richard D. Steinke. “Their efforts to improve air quality and contribute to cleaner skies deserve praise and recognition.”

Nominees were judged by a panel that included representatives of the South Coast Air Quality Management District, California Air Resources Board and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 

The 2009 winners were honored in four categories:

Leadership at the Corporate Level 

  • Yusen Terminals Inc. (YTI) at the Port of Los Angeles: Yusen Terminals is a subsidiary of NYK Line, and both companies have a long history of environmental leadership. In 2003, YTI was the first container terminal in the Port of Los Angeles to achieve certification of its environmental management system as part of ISO 14001, and has since been recertified in 2005 and 2008. In addition, YTI partnered with the Port of Los Angeles in the second generation installation of Alternative Maritime Power – or cold ironing – which virtually eliminates a ship's emissions at berth. For these measures and a host of other programs, YTI has been commended as a “model terminal.”
  • Pacific Harbor Line (PHL): Recognized as the most environmentally friendly railroad in America, PHL has replaced and expanded its locomotive fleet with cleaner equipment, taking delivery of 22 clean-diesel locomotives in the past two years. This switch has lowered particulate emissions by 70 percent, cut nitrogen oxide emissions by 46 percent and reduced fuel use by an estimated 7 to 9 percent. PHL had financial help with the $30 million fleet replacement from the ports and the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
  • International Transportation Service (ITS) at the Port of Long Beach: ITS opened its doors at the Port of Long Beach in 1972 and has a long history of environmental stewardship that includes the first on-dock rail yard on the West Coast, built in 1986, and participation in numerous voluntary emission reduction programs. In 2006, ITS signed a “Green Lease” with the Port of Long Beach that included extended gate hours to cut idling of trucks, alternative fuel usage in cargo handling equipment and the Port of Long Beach’s first shore-powered container berth. ITS’ shore power allows docked ships from parent company “K” Line to shut down diesel engines while at berth.
 Innovative Air Quality Improvement Technologies 

  • Metropolitan Stevedore Company (Metro Ports) at the Port of Long Beach: Metro Ports, a bulk export terminal operator, assisted a local environmental response firm in testing an innovative pollution control technology. The device, known as the Advanced Maritime Emissions Control System, uses a “bonnet” or “sock on a stack” to capture emissions from a docked ship’s smokestack. The exhaust is then processed in an on-shore scrubbing system to clean it and then expel the cleaned gases into the air. This demonstration project was funded through the Clean Air Action Plan Technology Advancement Program and is being tested as an alternative to cold-ironing or shore power.
Innovative Operations that Improve Air Quality 

  •  APL-Eagle Marine Services at the Port of Los Angeles: APL-Eagle Marine Services is a recognized leader in terminal operations and practices that improve air quality. The APL terminal, which opened in 1997, is designed for efficiency. It’s the only terminal in the U.S. that uses electric rail-mounted gantry cranes for on-dock rail, which is maximized to reduce truck trips. Yard tractors were upgraded with diesel oxidation catalysts and the terminal is exploring the use of alternative fuels in cargo handling equipment. APL-Eagle Marine also improves efficiency with electronic tracking, tag scanning and an automated “out gate” that reduces idling. APL vessels also contribute with 100 percent participation in the Vessel Speed Reduction program, and use of ship coatings and special propeller fin caps that increase fuel efficiency. 

Significant Early Action to Reduce Air Pollution 

  • Mitsubishi Cement Corp. at the Port of Long Beach: Mitsubishi installed a shore power system at its dry bulk terminal to provide clean power to cement ships berthed there. A cooperative effort with the Port and City of Long Beach, Mitsubishi has been plugging in their cement ships since July 2005. Vessels calling at the Mitsubishi berth spend an average of 75 percent of their time plugged in to shore power, significantly reducing air pollution. 
  • Total Transportation Services Inc. (TTSI): A licensed motor carrier serving both ports, TTSI enthusiastically joined in the ports’ commitment to clean air. A mere nine months after the ports adopted the San Pedro Bay Clean Air Action Plan, TTSI committed to converting its entire fleet of 106 drayage trucks to a completely green fleet of clean diesel and liquefied natural gas vehicles. TTSI was able to complete the conversion in a year’s time. TTSI has again backed up its reputation as an innovator in the drayage community. 
  • Seaside Transportation Services, LLC (STS) at the Port of Los Angeles: Seaside, the operator of the Evergreen Terminal container terminal, embarked upon significant early actions to reduce diesel particulate emissions from its operations. Seaside limited idling of yard equipment to save fuel and reduce exhaust; replaced yard trucks ahead of state-required deadlines; and implemented a project to test diesel particulate filters on rubber-tired gantry cranes, top handlers and side handlers. (The filters in the test reduced particulates by 85 percent.) Affiliated ocean carrier Evergreen contributed by participating in the Vessel Speed Reduction and low-sulfur fuel programs. 
The Air Quality Excellence Awards were created to further the goals of the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan. The Plan includes a number of initiatives aimed at reducing air pollution - by 45 percent by 2012 - from ships, trucks, trains and other heavy equipment used in the movement of cargo through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

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