Port highlights environmental progress
The Port of Seattle this week released its 2009 Environmental Report, recording the successes of its Green Gateway policy.
"The Port of Seattle's primary function is to create and support the 194,000 jobs in the region that depend upon Port related businesses," said CEO Tay Yoshitani. "But we can't sustain those businesses without sustaining the environment in which we work."
In April 2009, the port authority approved a clean air package "designed to protect jobs, support local truckers and maritime cargo customers, and reduce diesel emissions."
One of the major schemes for ships calling at the port is the ABC Fuels Program. Ships using fuel with <0.5% sulphur in auxiliary engines at berth qualified for a $1,500 incentive in 2009 (rising to $2,250 in 2010) per visit.
Nine shipping operators participated in the scheme: Hapag-Lloyd, Matson, APL, Maersk, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, COSCO, Hamburg-Sud, and Evergreen.
In 2009, 236 ships from those operators - 30% of all vessel calls - took part in the scheme and sulphur reductions totalled 68 metric tonnes.
The port also provides shore power at two cruise ship berths at its new Pier 91 facility, which opened in 2009 and is homeport for Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, and Royal Caribbean International.
As part of its overall environmental management, the port authority, which also runs the Sea-Tac airport, has focused on greenhouse gas reductions, alternative fuels, equipment retrofitting, waste management, and wildlife conservation.
"Maintaining and improving regional air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change are important priorities for the Port," it noted in the report, citing a reduction in emissions from airport operations of nearly 6% in 2009.
With its Green Gateway policy in place, the port is positioning itself as "the low carbon corridor for cargo moving between Asia and the American Midwest and all the way to the East Coast."
A May 2009 study by Herbert Engineering concluded that while ocean transportation emits less carbon per container TEU on a per-mile basis than rail, the ocean distance to West Coast ports is short enough to offset the carbon impact of rail transportation from the West Coast to inland destinations.
"The goal of all of these efforts is to make our gateway more efficient and competitive, improve air quality, and reduce costs," according to the port authority.