Oakland Maritime (Seaport) Air Quality Fact Sheet
The Port of Oakland is working to improve air quality on many fronts, from
designing more efficient terminals to installing exhaust controls on diesel
equipment. Some of these activities are described below.
VISION 2000 AIR QUALITY PROGRAM
In 1999, the Port embarked on a harbor expansion program known as the
“Vision 2000 Maritime Development Program.” As part of the expansion
program, the Port established an air quality program to reduce air emissions
from many sources, including local buses, tugboats, terminal equipment, and
trucks that haul shipping containers.
The Vision 2000 Air Quality Program is the outcome of an
amicable partnership that evolved from what began as troubled relations
between the Port and the West Oakland community, specifically West Oakland
Neighbors. We now work together to make a difference in the community. The
Port allocated $8.98 million for this air quality program that is designed
to reduce emissions from many sources, including diesel equipment. Together,
as good neighbors, we have been able to accomplish the following:
Local Buses. The Port conveyed $659,000 to AC Transit in
1999 to help repower 28 buses with cleaner running engines and retrofit them
with exhaust controls. The cleaner buses are assigned to routes in West
Oakland and neighboring communities. This will reduce 3.6 tons of
particulate matter (PM) and 39.7 tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx) over the
project lifetime of 9 years. These cleaner buses can be recognized by signs
on the sides of each bus that include the Port’s logo and a note that the
low emission buses were provided by the Port of Oakland in partnership with
West Oakland Neighbors. During this project, AC Transit hired 97 employees
from West Oakland.
Lesaffre (formerly “Red Star”) Yeast Plant. The Port fully
funded a study that identified ways to significantly reduce emissions of
reactive organic gases at the plant. However, after the study was completed,
Lesaffre closed the plant.
Dust Control. Throughout construction of the new Vision
2000 facilities, the Port has monitored the construction sites daily to
ensure that the dust control measures were in place and effective.
Air Quality Monitoring. In 1997, the Port installed
outdoor air monitors to measure the levels of particulate matter (PM) in
West Oakland. The program measures PM-10 and PM -2.5 concentrations at two
stations: one at the Port (the “Port station”) and one in the West Oakland
residential area downwind of the Port facilities (the “Residential
station”). The Port station, located at 1919 Middle Harbor Road, is directly
downwind from most of the Port’s maritime activities. The Residential
station is located on a rooftop near the intersection of Filbert and 24th
Streets. During the construction periods associated with the Port’s
expansion, there was no noticeable increase in PM at the Residential
station, suggesting that particulates from construction did not migrate into
the residential community. The data correlates well between the West Oakland
monitoring station and Air District stations in the Bay Area, indicating
that PM levels are more influenced by regional phenomena rather than by
Truck Exhaust Controls. The Port is planning to launch a
new program in early 2004 to help truckers replace older trucks with newer
vehicles, and to install exhaust controls that will reduce particulate
matter emissions. The West Oakland community has had a major hand in
steering this program.
Cleaner Fuels for Trucks. With a grant from the Air
District and Port, Horizon Lines is now testing PuriNOx, an emulsified
diesel made by Lubrizol, in its trucks. According to State tests, equipment
outfitted with exhaust controls and fueled with PuriNOx will reduce PM at
least 50% and reduce NOx at least 20%.
Tugboats. Through a Port grant, Oscar Niemeth Towing Inc.
received $408,300 to purchase state-of-the-art, cleaner-burning main engines
for its tugboat, the Silver Eagle.
New Technologies and Fuels. In 1999, the Port participated
in a Brookhaven National Laboratory study of using liquefied natural gas
(LNG) in heavy-duty terminal equipment and trucks. The Port continues to
explore the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of new technologies and fuels
that would reduce emissions. Some of these alternatives include hybrid
diesel/electric engines, CNG for heavy-duty trucks, and biodiesel.
Terminal Equipment. In 2000, the Port established a
program to repower off-road terminal equipment with cleaner engines,
retrofit equipment with exhaust controls, and fuel equipment with cleaner
fuels. APL, Maersk, Marine Terminals Corporation, TransBay Container
Terminal Inc., and Trans Pacific Container Service Corporation are
participating. Together they have repowered 60 and retrofitted 130 pieces of
diesel equipment. Two terminals have finished upgrading their equipment, and
three terminals have switched to ultra-low-sulfur diesel.
Electric Dredge. The Port installed an electric connection
near Berth 59 to power the specially-equipped electric dredges used to
construct Berths 55-59. This will eliminate a significant quantity of diesel
emissions in the air. Electric connections for dredges have also been
installed elsewhere in the harbor area.
Truck Parking and Support Services. Since the Port first leased the Fleet
Industrial Supply Center Oakland (FISCO) from the Navy in 1994, it has
provided low-cost overnight parking for trucks near the marine terminals.
When FISCO was converted to container ship terminals, the Port helped many
trucking companies move from neighborhood locations into the Oakland Army
Base and other Port sites. Within the Port area and west of I-880, 105 acres
are designated for truck and maritime support, reducing the pressure for
these activities to be located in the mixed residential/industrial areas of
With financial support from the Port, AB Trucking and
SynchroNet Marine opened the Oakland Maritime Support Services on Maritime
Street in the harbor area this fall. The center is planned to include secure
overnight parking for about 20 trucking companies, custom-designed
dispatching services, a DMV-certified doctor, truck insurance carrier, tire
repair service, and other trucking services.
SynchroMet. The Port has partnered with SynchroNet Marine
to develop a computer service (“SynchroMet”) that reduces truck traffic at
the Port. SynchroMet is a tracking system that allows trucking companies to
transfer empty shipping containers at locations distant from the Port.
Currently, most empty containers are brought to the Port by one truck, and
then taken away by a different truck. SynchroMet’s “virtual container yard”
will reduce truck trips to and from the Port.
Police Officers. The Port funds two City of Oakland Police
Department (OPD) officers who are assigned to enforce truck parking
prohibitions throughout the West Oakland neighborhood. These officers
inspect trucks, ticket illegally parked trucks and work with truckers to
Truckers Guide. The Port and OPD distribute guides to
truckers showing approved access roads to the terminals as well as general
rules for transporting goods to and from the Port area.
HARBOR EQUIPMENT AND DESIGN
Moved I-880 Closer to Port. After the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, the Port
worked with the West Oakland community to ensure that Caltrans rebuilt the
collapsed portion of I-880 closer to the Port area and further away from the
Better Roads. With a grant from CalTrans, the Port
increased Middle Harbor Road to four lanes so that trucks can move through
the Port more easily and spend less time in lines. This moved some truck
traffic from 14th, West Grand and 7th Streets into the Port area, reducing
congestion and truck idling.
New, More Efficient Terminals. The Port’s two newest
terminals, the Hanjin Terminal and the Stevedoring Services of America
Terminal, were designed to move cargo and trucks through gates and terminals
more efficiently. The Environmental Indicators Project noted that there was
substantially less truck idling at the Hanjin terminal than at the other
Electric Cranes. The last two of the Port’s diesel cranes
were removed in 2002. All of the Port’s 37 cranes are now electric,
eliminating diesel emissions from crane operations.
Electric Reefer Connections. The Port provided electric
connections on all of the terminals so that refrigerated shipping containers
can run on electricity instead of diesel while they are in the terminals.
There are a total of 3,982 hard wired reefer “plug-ins” at the terminals
(3,651 – 480V and 331 – 240V)
Rail at the Port. The Port of Oakland completed its Joint Intermodal
Terminal (JIT) in spring of 2002 - a near-dock rail facility operated by
Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company (BNSF) as the Oakland
International Gateway. This terminal eliminates the need to truck containers
between the Port and the BNSF terminal in Richmond, 12 miles away. We can
move goods faster and less expensively and improve air quality at the same
time, by reducing truck trips and congestion on local roads and freeways.
Rail to the Central Valley. The California Inter-Regional
Intermodal Service (CIRIS), a short-haul rail shuttle, would connect the
Port with the Central Valley. This would include the cities of Stockton,
Modesto, and Fresno, where key shipping and receiving is the most common
destination for Port cargo. The short-haul rail would reduce truck traffic
congestion on the freeways, thereby improving mobility for everyone. CIRIS
represents innovative technology that the Port is aggressively exploring for
pilot implementation. The Oakland CIRIS project is in its conceptual stage
and the Port is working with potential partners, representing regional
transportation agencies in the Bay Area and Central Valley along with
private sector carriers (railroads) and shippers to fund the operation of
CIRIS as a one or two-year pilot project.
Neighborhood Electric Vehicles. In 2002, the Ford Motor Company donated
neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs) to the Port, and the Port is in turn
making nine of these zero-emission vehicles available to terminal operators
and businesses in the Port’s maritime operations’ area. An additional
vehicle will be used by the Port at Port View Park.
CNG Station. The Port opened a public compressed natural
gas (CNG) station at Oakland International Airport in July 2002, and is
working with the City of Oakland to open a second station in the harbor
Port’s Own Equipment. The Port has been using
ultra-low-sulfur diesel in Port-owned equipment since June 2002. This fall,
the Port began testing a new diesel additive, EnviroFuel’s n-TEK that is
expected to further reduce emissions and to improve fuel economy.
Technical Review Panel. Throughout the development of the
air quality program, the Port has received guidance from a Technical Review
Panel that includes representatives of the Bay Area Air Quality Management
District, California Air Resources Board, National Resources Defense Council
(NRDC), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Region IX, West Oakland
Neighbors, and other individuals and organizations with technical expertise.
Glossary of Terms
Ambient air: The surrounding local air.
Berth: The water area at the waterfront edge of a wharf,
reserved for a vessel—a place where a ship docks. The term is sometimes used
to refer to the dock or wharf structure.
· Biodiesel: A fuel or additive for diesel engines that is
made from soybean oil or recycled vegetable oils and tallow. Biodiesel can
be 100% biodiesel (B100) or blended with conventional diesel in various
amounts, such as B20, which is 20% biodiesel blended with 80% conventional
· Compressed natural gas (CNG): Natural gas that has been
compressed to very high pressure, and is stored in high-pressure tanks.
· Container: The large shipping (or cargo) boxes that can
travel as is on ships, trucks, and rail cars.
· Crane: The large pieces of equipment that lift shipping containers on and
· DMV: California Department of Motor Vehicles.
· Dredging: The removal of bottom sediments in order to deepen or widen a
· Heavy-duty terminal equipment: The large diesel-powered
equipment that moves shipping containers around a terminal. The equipment
includes, for example, toppicks, sidepicks, and yard tractors.
· Heavy-duty truck: A truck with greater than a 14,000
gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR, which includes the truck, driver, and
cargo). Shipping containers are hauled on roads and highways by trucks this
· Hybrid diesel-electric engines: Engines that are powered
by an electric motor as well as by diesel fuel. The electric motor reduces
the use of diesel, and helps reduce emissions.
· Liquefied natural gas (LNG): Natural gas that has been
cooled to about -260 degrees Fahrenheit. Some new, specially-designed trucks
run on LNG.
· Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs): An electrically-powered vehicle
that generally have a top speed of 25 miles per hour.
· Particulate Matter (PM): A mix of particles that may be
solid or liquid, and range from coarse particles like wind-blown dust to
fine particles from vehicle exhaust. PM-10 and PM-2.5 refer to particle
sizes. PM-10 includes particles less than 10 microns in diameter (a human
hair is 50 to 100 microns). PM-2.5 is a subset of PM-10 and refers to
particles less than 2.5 microns in diameter. PM-10 and PM-2.5 can be readily
inhaled, and some forms can cause a significant health impact.
· Reactive organic gases (ROG): Gases composed of
non-methane hydrocarbons that may react with sunlight to form smog.
· Retrofit: A piece of equipment that is installed on a
vehicle after it has been sold. A retrofit in the Port’s air quality program
is usually installed in a vehicle’s tailpipe to control exhaust emissions.
Types of retrofits include, for example, diesel oxidation catalysts and
diesel particulate filters.
· Terminal: The place where ships load and unload shipping
containers, and trucks pickup or deliver the containers.
· Ultra-low-sulfur diesel: Diesel with less than 15 parts
per million (ppm) of sulfur. California diesel currently contains about 140
ppm sulfur, but ultra-low-sulfur diesel will be required nationwide in 2006.