Earth Day 2022 marks another year of environmental achievements for the Port of Long Beach, as it continues to pursue the most ambitious sustainability goals for any seaport in the world. Earlier this month, on April 1, the Port, along with the Port of Los Angeles, launched the Clean Truck Fund rate, collecting from cargo owners up to $20 per loaded container moved into or out of the ports’ terminals. Between the two ports, the rate in its first year is expected to generate up to $90 million to pay for zero-emissions vehicles and the support infrastructure for recharging and refueling. It’s part of working toward the complete transition of the truck fleet to zero-emissions by 2035.
The rate builds upon the Clean Truck Program, which has already succeeded in phasing out older, dirtier trucks. Today, more than 20,000 trucks are registered to service the San Pedro Bay ports. All are model year 2007 or newer. More than 60% are model year 2014 or newer.
In February, the Port broke ground on a new microgrid demonstration project, which will use an array of solar panels and batteries to provide energy resilience for the Port’s security center while enhancing air quality by delivering clean power for daily operations. The project also reduces the Port’s reliance on diesel generators to produce electricity during outages.
Also in February, the Port issued a request to vendors to assist in creating one of the largest networks of publicly accessible electric-charging stations for the battery-electric heavy duty drayage trucks that will serve the port complex. The Port’s goal is to support installation of at least 100 chargers in the Harbor District.
“The Port of Long Beach was America’s first Green Port and we continue to lead on sustainability,” said Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia. “From construction to procurement to zero-emissions clean technology development, I’m proud of what the Port has done, and more importantly, what it will do in the future to take on climate change.”
“This Earth Day, we not only look back at our many environmental accomplishments, but we also look ahead to achieving the ambitious goals we have set for the Port for the years to come,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. “We have come a long way, but we are by no means finished.”
“We take our role as a leader in seaport sustainability very seriously at the Port of Long Beach,” said Sharon L. Weissman, Vice President of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners. “As a leader, we are continually looking for new ways to improve the environment and the health of the community.”
AIR GOALS MET EARLY
The Port’s latest annual Air Emissions Inventory, the 2020 report issued in September 2021, confirmed that the Port has reached and surpassed its third and final target for slashing ground-level air pollution from port-related operations – three years ahead of schedule.
Under the Clean Air Action Plan, the Port committed to reducing emissions of diesel particulate matter (DPM) 77%, nitrogen oxides (NOx) 59% and sulfur oxides (SOx) 93% by 2023. The Port met and exceeded its DPM reduction target in 2013 and its SOx reduction target in 2014. In 2020, the NOx target of 59% was met and exceeded. To reduce greenhouse gases, the Port is moving forward with measures to transition to zero-emissions for terminal cargo handling equipment by 2030 and the truck fleet by 2035. The Port’s goals are a 40% reduction of greenhouse gases by 2030 and 80% by 2050, compared to 1990 levels.
The Port of Long Beach leads by example. The Green Fleet Policy, initiated in 2006 and updated in 2021, requires that when the Port buys a new vehicle, it’s the cleanest one that meets the Port’s performance requirements with the goal of having a 100% zero emission fleet by 2030. Many electric vehicles have been added to the Port fleet over the years under this policy. Last year for example, the Port bought a zero-emissions electric street sweeper vehicle for the Port’s new bike paths.
In August 2021, the Port celebrated substantial completion of the new Long Beach Container Terminal, which features advanced technology and zero-emissions cargo operations. LBCT’s five major structures are built to gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards for sustainable design, construction and use, which include water and energy conservation and reuse of recycled materials. Developed at a cost of $1.5 billion to the Port, LBCT is one of the greenest terminals in the world.
AQUATIC LIFE THRIVING
In addition to air quality, harbor waters are an equal priority for the Port. Released in 2021, the latest survey of water quality, aquatic habitat and biological resources in the San Pedro Bay shows the harbor’s ecosystem is thriving, with more than 1,000 species of aquatic plants, fish, birds, invertebrates and marine mammals.
Meanwhile, the Port continues to look for more innovative ways to be green. The Port’s Community Grants Program financially helps local groups carry out health, facility improvement and community infrastructure projects to mitigate port-related impacts on air and water quality, traffic and noise. Since 2009, the Port has set aside more than $65 million for the program. For example, Rancho Los Cerritos in Long Beach this year kicked off construction of a new stormwater reclamation project that will help the Rancho historic site to conserve water, and will help educate the public on the importance of stormwater control. The project received a $1 million Port Community Grant.