Ports of Vancouver, BC, Tacoma, and Seattle to phase out maritime emissions by 2050

The Northwest ports of Vancouver, British Columbia, Tacoma, Seattle, and the combined container operations of The Northwest Seaport Alliance, are jointly committing to phase out emissions from seaport-related activities by 2050.

Image credit: Port of Tacoma

In a collaboration among the four ports, the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy seeks to meet this target through changes in equipment, fuels, and infrastructure.

“In order for us to meet these ambitious long-term targets that benefit the climate and surrounding communities, it’s essential that the state and federal government partner with the Ports to provide progressive policies and financial assistance that create incentives for their adoption prior to regulatory obligations,” said Fred Felleman, Port of Seattle commission president and co-chair of The Northwest Seaport Alliance.

“Given the looming climate crisis, it’s also critical to recognize that we are committed to making near-term progress in collaboration with our business and community partners.”

“Even though maritime transport is an efficient means to move goods and people, the industry still relies on fossil fuels, and global growth in activity means that emissions overall are still on the rise,” said Dick Marzano, Port of Tacoma commission president and co-chair of The Northwest Seaport Alliance.

“Through the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy, ports have a blueprint to do their part by helping to protect air quality and responding to the international call to take action on climate change.”

Under the strategy of joint vision and objectives, the ports will cover six sectors: oceangoing vessels, cargo-handling equipment, trucks, harbor vessels, rail, and port administration and tenant facilities.

It builds on the efforts of the past decade. Namely, in the 2013 strategy, goals were set to reduce the emissions of diesel particles (DPM) and greenhouse gases (GHG) per ton of freight by 80% and 15% respectively compared to 2005.

The cuts have been achieved through shore power initiatives, clean truck programs as well turnover of older equipment, and the use of cleaner fuels by ships.

The Northwest ports plan to each release port-specific plans to implement the 2020 Strategy vision and objectives across their unique operations and businesses.

They will also continue to report annually on the progress.

The ports will collaborate with industry, governments, non-profits, communities, and other ports and partners to implement the strategy and advance toward a zero-emissions future.