Dockside environmental developments in the US

23 August 2023


We round-up the latest environmental developments at US ports.

The Port of LA, Port of Long Beach and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), with the support of C40 Cities – a global network of nearly 100 mayors taking action on the climate crisis – has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish a green and digital shipping corridor between Singapore and the San Pedro Bay ports complex to support the decarbonisation of the maritime industry and improve efficiencies through digitalisation.

“No single port or organisation can tackle the challenge of decarbonising the supply chain alone, no matter how innovative their technology or robust their efforts. The establishment of this green shipping corridor between the San Pedro Bay ports complex and Singapore will prove to be a living, breathing testament to the power of global collaboration,” says Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of LA.

Curbing greenhouse gases from international shipping is essential to fight global warming, adds Mario Cordero, executive director of the Port of Long Beach: “Creating this green corridor with our partner ports and C40 Cities is part of our strategy to coalesce all of our efforts here and beyond to help advance our goals for cleaner marine fuels for oceangoing vessels, improve efficiencies for the global movement of goods, and to achieve a carbon-neutral future.”

C40 Cities is the facilitator of the green and digital shipping corridor, providing support to the cities, ports, and their corridor partners by coordinating, convening, facilitating and providing communications support in furtherance of the corridor’s goals.

Ahead of the revision of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Initial Strategy for the Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Ships in July 2023, the three ports came together with the C40 Cities network and other stakeholders in the maritime and energy value chains, to jointly accelerate the decarbonisation of the maritime industry in line with the goals of the IMO, and Singapore’s and the US’s respective nationally determined contributions (NDCs) – a climate action plan to cut emissions and adapt to climate impacts.

The memorandum also builds on the ports’ longstanding cooperation through platforms such as the Port Authorities’ Roundtable and ChainPort, and complements bilateral initiatives between Singapore and the US, such as the US-Singapore Climate Partnership and the US-Singapore Partnership for Growth and Innovation.

The green and digital shipping corridor aims to support the transition to low- and zero-emission fuels by ships calling at Singapore and the San Pedro Bay ports complex. The parties will work to facilitate the supply and adoption of these fuels and explore the necessary infrastructure and regulations for bunkering. In addition to identifying and collaborating on pilot and demonstration projects, the memorandum aims to identify digital shipping solutions and develop standards and best practices for green ports and the bunkering of alternative marine fuels, including sharing experiences at international platforms such as IMO.

“The signing of this MOU signals our collective will to pool our resources, technical insights, industry and research networks to deliver scalable green as well as digital corridor solutions to help the maritime industry attain the 2050 emission reduction targets expected of the IMO and help spur the development of green growth opportunities,” says Teo Eng Dih, chief executive of the MPA.

OFFSHORE WIND

As well as being a part of the above initiative, the Port of Long Beach has also released plans for an ambitious facility to help California and the nation reach renewable energy targets in the coming decades.

The floating offshore wind facility, known as Pier Wind, would support the manufacture and assembly of offshore wind turbines as tall as the Eiffel Tower. It would be the largest facility at any US seaport specifically designed to accommodate the assembly of offshore wind turbines.

“Imagine fully assembled wind turbines capable of generating 20MW of energy towed by sea from the Port of Long Beach to offshore wind farms in Central and Northern California,” says Cordero. “As society transitions to clean energy, our harbour is ideally located for such an enterprise: with calm seas behind a federal breakwater, one of the deepest and widest channels in the US., direct access to the open ocean and no air height restrictions. No other location has the space to achieve the economies of scale needed to drive down the cost of energy for these huge turbines.”

“Building Pier Wind lays the foundation for a zero-carbon energy future, not only for the public but for our operations as well,” says Long Beach Harbor Commission President Sharon L. Weissman. “Offshore wind is essential to the Port of Long Beach’s own goals to transition to zero emissions, and ensuring there is a ready supply of reliable, resilient and renewable power is vital for the work we do moving commerce.”

The Pier Wind project helps California harness the powerful wind in deep waters in order to generate renewable energy while enhancing air quality by reducing reliance on fossil fuels; meet the state’s goal of producing 25GW of offshore wind power by 2045; and contribute toward lowering the national cost of offshore wind power by 70% by 2035.

The facility would span up to 400 acres of newly built land southwest of the Long Beach International Gateway Bridge within the Harbor District. The port’s concept study provides information to continue planning and discussion with state and federal officials, developers and funders for the $4.7bn project.

Pier Wind would also create new jobs and career opportunities for the communities closest to the port that have been disproportionately impacted by climate change and port operations. Community members would participate and benefit as California transitions away from fossil fuels and into a green economy. Construction could potentially start in January 2027, with the first 100 acres operational in early 2031, the second 100 acres operational in late 2031, and the last 200 acres coming online in 2035.

SUSTAINABLE AWARD

Lineage Logistics, a temperature-controlled industrial real estate investment trust (REIT) and integrated solutions provider, has received a Sustainable Century Award from the Port of Seattle for its environmental leadership and partnership in helping the port achieve its environmental stewardship, sustainability and equity goals.

Lineage, a long-time business partner of the port and recipient of the 2022 Maritime Sustainable Century Award for Environmental Performance, operates the seven-building Seattle Garfield facility on Pier 91 in Seattle, Washington. Over the past year, site leaders have implemented significant sustainability initiatives across facilities resulting in a direct, measurable environmental benefit.

“As the world’s leading temperaturecontrolled industrial REIT and logistics solutions provider, Lineage has been at the forefront of providing solutions to execute sustainability initiatives throughout the supply chain,” says Chris Thurston, director of energy and sustainability at Lineage Logistics.

“We work to strategically integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives into how we do business and live out our values by stewarding the environment, participating in responsible corporate citizenship, and driving innovation in our industry. We are proud to celebrate our long-standing partnership with the Port of Seattle and look forward to collaborating in the years to come to create a more sustainable future.”

The Port of Seattle recognised Lineage for investments in energy savings including LED lighting, new control technology and motion sensors throughout buildings 391 and 392 to reduce the percentage of light output when not occupied, installation of three high-speed, roll-up doors in the freezer area of building 390 to minimise how long doors stay open when forklifts are moving between the docks and freezer to drive energy efficiency, and replacing rail doors in buildings 390 and 391 with heavily insulated doors – the new rail dock doors help conserve energy by reducing heat transfer from the freezer.

Other notable achievements include installation of variable frequency drives that allow the existing electric compressors to operate more efficiently; installation of two new evaporators with energyefficient technology and variable frequency drives that control the fan motor speed; installation of four new electric heating, ventilation and air-conditioning units to replace natural gas units, and working with consulting and engineering firm Geosyntec on a Storm Water Prevention Plan to help drive efficiencies and reduce environmental impact.

In 2022, Lineage committed to achieve net-zero carbon emissions across global operations by 2040. The company is driving efficiencies in reducing energy use as well as investing in renewable energy technologies – including solar generating capacity.

Lineage currently ranks as the fifthlargest corporate user of installed, on-site solar capacity, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

Additionally, Lineage plans to release its first-ever sustainability report this year, which will outline many of the steps the company is taking to build a more efficient and sustainable cold chain.

HYBRID ENGINES

The Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) has agreed to spend $170m on 55 hybridengine Konecranes rubber-tyred gantry (RTG) cranes to outfit the Port of Savannah’s Ocean Terminal, as it is redeveloped into an all-container facility.

“This significant investment in new equipment will help prepare the Port of Savannah to handle more ships and cargo while maintaining the world-class service our customers have come to expect,” says GPA executive director Griff Lynch. “[They] will expand our capabilities, operate at lower cost and leave a smaller carbon footprint than conventional diesel cranes.”

The hybrid machines will operate off electric battery power exclusively, with diesel generators running only to recharge batteries. This will reduce fuel consumption by an estimated 47% compared to all-diesel machines. Per year, that is a reduction of 8,800 gallons of diesel per crane, or nearly 500,000 gallons annually across the Ocean Terminal fleet. This will result in fuel purchase savings of more than $1.6m per year at current rates.

The new cranes reduce emissions by half compared to conventional diesel cranes. At an annual average of 4,000 operating hours per RTG, the hybrid engines will avoid yearly emissions of 127 tons per crane, or nearly 7,000 tons across the 55-RTG fleet.

“With every infrastructure expansion, the Georgia Ports Authority seeks to ensure its operations progress toward improved longterm sustainability,” says GPA board chairman Joel Wooten. “Economic development, environmental stewardship, governance, and employee and community engagement are all important facets in that effort.”

The gantry cranes will use special ‘whisper’ movement alarms that sound like static, rather than the typical three-tone alarms. The whisper alarms don’t penetrate long distance, but do provide safety for nearby personnel, effectively making the machines quieter and reducing noise emissions. The combination of hybrid power and quieter alarms will help control the sound of operations for neighbouring communities.

The new cranes can work stacks that are six containers high and seven wide – one container wider than GPA’s current largest RTGs. Wider stacks mean fewer rows and a denser, more efficient use of space. The RTGs currently serving Ocean Terminal will be repurposed in other areas of operation.

The cranes are one part of the renovation of the 200-acre Ocean Terminal. The authority is also establishing two big ship berths at the facility, and improving the paving surface to hold container stacks. These projects will bring to six the number of Neopanamax vessels the Port of Savannah can handle simultaneously.

To work the larger ships, GPA will add eight all electric ship-to-shore cranes at Ocean Terminal by 2026. The taller shipto- shore cranes will replace three older cranes that are not suited to handling Neopanamax vessels. When complete, the terminal’s annual capacity will reach two million twenty-foot equivalent container units.

A key partner for the Georgia Ports Authority is the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT). It will play an important role in the terminal’s completion and traffic control around Ocean Terminal.

“GDOT is currently reviewing plans to route port traffic directly from the terminal onto US 17/Interstate 16, avoiding near-port streets, which could minimise community impacts,” says Susan Gardner, senior director of operations and projects. “Directing trucks in this manner will expedite cargo, while preventing unnecessary traffic in neighbouring communities.”

Joel Wooten, GPA board chairman.
Hybrid rubber-tyred gantry cranes from Konecranes. The Georgia Ports Authority has agreed to spend $170m on 55 such machines.
Lineage’s high-speed roll-up doors.
The MoU established a green and digital shipping corridor to support the decarbonisation of the maritime industry and improve efficiencies.
Lineage operates the Seattle Garfield facility on Pier 91 in Seattle, Washington, which has implemented significant sustainability initiatives.
The Port of Long Beach floating offshore wind facility would support the manufacture and assembly of offshore wind turbines as tall as the Eiffel Tower