Last year the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey became the first public transportation agency in the country to embrace the Paris Climate Agreement, a United Nations-sponsored pact to bring the world’s countries together to fight climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In support of the agreement, the Port Authority set an interim target to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 35 percent by 2025, and a long-term goal to reduce all emissions related to the agency’s facilities by 80 percent by 2050. We have already made progress. Since 2008, the Port Authority has reduced its GHG emissions by 13 percent compared to the 2006 baseline year.
The Port of New York and New Jersey is doing its part to support the agency’s goal. Through a collaboration with its partners, the Port has developed a Clean Air Strategy, a plan that lays out practical actions that the Port and industry stakeholders can follow to reduce diesel and greenhouse emissions, including partnering with innovative companies, replacing outdated equipment, implementing new strategies, and investing in new technology.
So far we’ve made progress. Even with cargo numbers rising by 32 percent since 2006, the environmental efforts in place at the Port of New York and New Jersey have helped to reduce greenhouse gas levels by 8 percent, and that number is expected to rise as new initiatives and programs are put into motion. In detail, nitrogen oxides have been reduced by 39 percent, particulate matter dropped by 74 percent, and sulfur dioxide emissions have been reduced by 98 percent compared to 2006 levels.
The First All-Electric Straddle Carries Arrives at Port Elizabeth
This year, the first all-electric straddle carrier (strad) in the United States will be put to work at Port Elizabeth. The strad, which emits no tailpipe gases, loads a container onto a truck chassis from overhead, rather than the side. The Port Authority has partnered with Maher Terminals, creating a one-year pilot program to determine the equipment’s operational and environmental benefits. The program will explore the level of greenhouse gas emissions that can be reduced by using the electric strad as opposed to the traditional diesel powered strad. The electric strad is designed to reduce tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions equal to 52 fewer vehicles on the road each year.
Other initiatives include:
- The Terminal Tractor Hybrid Retrofit program, a collaboration with port tenants to install automatic engine start-stop systems on vehicles. The system reduces fuel consumption and emissions by shutting the engine down while on standby.
- The Clean Vessel Incentive Program, which incentivizes ocean carriers to burn cleaner fuel and reduce their speed when entering the Port to reduce fuel consumption. Financial incentives for the 2019 program have increased to $1.5 million. To receive the incentives, companies and vessels calling the Port of New York and New Jersey must enroll into the program.
The Truck Replacement Program
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently allocated and additional $3.75 million to the Port Authority to replace up to 150 model year 2006 and older short-haul (drayage) trucks that service Port Authority facilities with cleaner, newer model year trucks. Part of the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA), the program offers truckers up to $25,000 of the cost to scrap and replace each vehicle.
Replacing older trucks with newer ones helps reduce emissions of diesel particulate matter and other pollutants such as nitrogen oxides. The grant is expected to reduce emissions of 94 tons of nitrogen oxides, 31 tons of carbon monoxide, and 4 tons of fine particulates per year. The particles in diesel exhaust contribute to unhealthy levels of smog and also pose serious health risks, including increasing the risk of cancer as well as aggravating the symptoms of asthma and other respiratory problems.