Newer ships, cleaner engines help Port of Long Beach cut diesel air pollution 81 percent

The following is the text of a news release from the Port of Long Beach:

(LONG BEACH, Calif.) — The Port of Long Beach has cut diesel particulates by 81 percent since 2005, according to an analysis released Monday. The results for 2012 mark six straight years of improving air quality in the harbor area thanks to the Port's focused efforts to reduce air pollution caused by goods movement. 

The reasons for air quality improvements include bigger ships carrying cargo more efficiently, newer ships with cleaner engines, the Jan. 1, 2012 deadline for full implementation of the Clean Trucks Program, increasing use of shore power, and a new low-sulfur fuel rule for ships that started in August 2012.

Compared to 2005 emissions levels, all of the key air pollutants from port-related sources were reduced in 2012. In addition to the drop in diesel emissions, smog-forming nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides have been cut 54 percent and 88 percent respectively. Greenhouse gases were lowered by 24 percent. The reduction in pollutants far outpaced a 10 percent decline in containerized cargo activity in the same period.

"We've been aggressively pursuing cleaner air for a long time and as you can see from these numbers, we are succeeding. We’ve committed to do even more, to continue to reduce air pollution and its health effects," said Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners President Thomas Fields.

The report examines data from the 2012 calendar year. The study's results were reviewed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the California Air Resources Board and the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

The annual analysis of air pollution from port sources — literally an “emissions inventory” — is conducted to check the Port’s progress in improving air quality. The San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan — created in 2006 — maps out a strategy to reduce or prevent pollution from the ships, trucks, locomotives, tractors and cranes that move cargo.

For the complete emissions inventory, go to

The Port of Long Beach is a recognized industry leader in environmental stewardship worldwide. The more than $150 billion in trade flowing through the Port of Long Beach each year creates more than 300,000 jobs in the Southern California region.

By Professional Mariner Staff