An unprecedented surge in cargo volume lifted the Port of Long Beach to its busiest February on record. Terminal operators and dockworkers moved over 770,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), a 40% plus increase over February 2020 and marking the largest year-over-year increase for a single month in the Port’s 110-year history.
Metro Ports, an experienced terminal operator and stevedoring company with locations across the country serving the waterfront community with both cargo and passengers handling services announced it purchased a second Tier 4 locomotive engine for its Pier G operations at the Port of Long Beach in California.
Through the $1.2 million investment, Metro Ports anticipates reducing pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, particulate matter and reactive organic gas from their air emissions by more than 4.5 tons over the next 15 years. That represents a significant improvement in air-quality emissions over the local industry standard of currently operating Tier 2 equipment, Metro Ports officials said in a press release.
"The move coincides with the port's clean-air action plan, Metro Ports recognizes its position as an industry leader and seeks to inspire awareness with its early adoption of the newest technology in clean-air equipment," said Metro Ports President Robert Dickey.
The first unit, produced by “National Railway Equipment Company”, was purchased when the technology was still considered experimental. With their recent $1.2M investment, Metro Ports expects to reduce air emissions such as nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate matter (PM) and reactive organic gas (ROG) by over 4.5 tons over the next 15 years. This represents a significant improvement in air quality emissions over the local industry standard of currently operating Tier 2 equipment. The "Tier" number is a classification assigned to operating equipment by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”), with a higher tier being assigned to cleaner-burning equipment with lower emissions. These improvements are not required by regulatory agencies but a voluntary, proactive step to lead the charge in environmental stewardship.
The new locomotive's addition is a project four years in the making, involving Knoxville Locomotive Works and the South Coast Air Quality Management District, which coordinated to procure grant funds through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that were aimed at projects that achieve significant reductions in diesel emission. These funds contributed to cover the total $3.2 million cost of the purchase, officials said.
Labor and equipment shortgages along with strong consumer purchasing demand is creating a perfect storm and overwhelming one of the busiest gateways to the U.S. economy. Cargo vessels sit idle offshore from Los Angeles, waiting for a berth opening, while shipping containers stacked five and six-high crowd the the ports of L.A. and Long Beach.
Imports and exports have rebounded at the Port of Oakland which expects a “strong fourth quarter for 2020.”
According to Pierce Nahigyan, Staff Writer for the Long Beach Business Journal, although the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles actively compete for trade, they are committed to working together on issues impact surrounding communities. Their environmental partnershipdates back decades and the relationship took a major leap forward in 2005, when the ports’ leadership developed the Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP).
When it comes to air quality, Long Beach and Los Angeles County rank among the most polluted areas in the nation. According to the 2019 “State of the Air” report released by the American Lung Association (ALA) last month, Southern California residents “face the most challenging air pollution levels in the United States.”
The final document incorporates public comment, which reflects the views of a wide and diverse group of constituents.
In statements made at the recent “Ports & Terminals” luncheon in Oakland, two prominent port executives maintain that continued government support for maritime industry clean air efforts and infrastructure development remains a priority.
Todd Dills, Senior Editor of Overdrive magazine discusses a new bill introduced this month in the Washington State House that seeks to require all trucks doing business at port terminals in Seattle, Tacoma and Vancouver to be powered by 2007 or newer model engines.
"The bill, if passed, would require all drayage trucks moving into and out of high-volume ports (with a total of more than 20 million annual tons of “domestic and foreign waterborne trade,” including Seattle and Tacoma) to be of 2007 and newer model year engines by January 1, 2019. It’s a strategy that has been pursued at Los Angeles and Long Beach ports previously, likewise more recently in New York and New Jersey.
Under the terms of the bill, further, by “January 1, 2035, all drayage trucks delivering goods to or receiving goods from a high-volume port must be zero emission vehicles.”