Port representatives from around the U.S. are currently attending the third Faster Freight - Cleaner Air (FFCA) conference which examines technologies and processes designed to reduce the environmental impact of all sectors of the goods movement industry (rail, trucking, marine, off-road equipment and air freight). Last November the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach adopted the "San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan" which has inspired many other ports worldwide to undertake similar activities in a bid to reduce their environmental impact. The pollution levels created by the goods movement industry are of particular concern and have come under increased scrutiny over the last few years.

The San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan is a comprehensive blueprint to reduce the health risks associated with air pollution from port-related ships, trucks, trains, terminal equipment and harbor craft. Key elements of the hundreds of millions of dollars plan are to cut particulate matter (PM) pollution by more than 50 percent within five years, reduce NOx emissions by more than 45 percent and reduce sulphur oxides (SOx) emissions as well. Within five years, "dirty" diesel trucks will be banned from the San Pedro Bay cargo terminals where only new "clean" diesel trucks and retrofitted vehicles will be allowed to operate. Another initiative is to equip all major container cargo and cruise ship terminals at the ports with shore-side electricity which will allow vessels at berth to shut down their diesel-powered auxiliary engines.

A highlight of the FFCA conference is a panel discussion covering green leases - leases which implement low-emission and environmentally-friendly processes and technologies into port operations. Among the speakers to attend are the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen Johnson and U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Mary Peters. The EPA is a sponsor of the event.

Analysis: If you think an old diesel truck is an air polluter, imagine what the same vintage diesel technology on a container carrier is doing! It's great to see this kind of proactive approach being taken by the goods movement industry. I'd like to see similar plans to reduce PM, NOx and SOx across every port - all totaled it would really add up.

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[Source: Faster Freight - Cleaner Air 2007 press release]

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