The Ocean-going Vessels Low Sulfur Fuel Program will encourage the use of low-sulfur fuel by providing financial incentives to operators of ocean vessels for up to 50 percent of the cost differential between high-sulfur fuel and low-sulfur fuel. Vessel operators will absorb the remaining 50 percent of the cost differential. The vessels also must participate in a vessel speed reduction program to qualify for this program.
The Cargo Handling Equipment Fleet Modernization Program will reimburse participating port tenants for 20 percent of the cost of replacing existing cargo handling equipment with new equipment that meets federal on-road air-emission standards as applicable, or the most recent federal off-road emissions standards. The tenant will be responsible for the remaining 80 percent of the cost. Approximately 125 pieces of cargo-handling equipment are expected to be replaced through this program.
The Board authorized approximately $9 million to cover the cost of the two programs — $6.36 million for the ocean-going vessel fuel program, and $2.24 million to help upgrade cargo-handling equipment.
As part of the portâ€™s Clean Air Strategy, the Board previously authorized a program to help replace more than 600 of the oldest, most polluting trucks serving the port with new models that generate less pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. All of the clean air initiatives are designed to help reduce port-related emissions of particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxides and greenhouse gas emissions, with the goal of achieving an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
The Port Authority also announced this week that it had completed the major components of its ExpressRail system, allowing it to accommodate up to 1.3 million cargo containers a year. The two projects that were just completed were a second lead track into ExpressRail Elizabeth and a rail support facility that will allow storage for up to four 10,000 foot-long trains.
Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, â€œWe have an exceptional track record in making our port sustainable, including our multimillion-dollar ExpressRail program and land conservation efforts. These new programs will build on our past initiatives to be good environmental stewards in the region.â€
Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward said, â€œWorking cooperatively with our port partners, we can find ways to clean the air while continuing to increase our cargo business. We will continue to develop innovative ways to grow the port in an environmentally sustainable way.â€
Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Susan Bass Levin said, â€œWe have worked closely with community organizations and the port community to develop programs that will improve the air quality in the region. Providing financial incentives will enable the Port to grow in an environmentally friendly way.â€