Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach continue to go green, looking toward a climate-friendly future

PORT OF LOS ANGELES (KABC) — The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have long been considered among the greenest ports in the country.

As far back as 2004, the Port of L.A. pioneered a process to capture emissions as ships plug into shore power, resulting in the decline of 14 tons of diesel particulate matter. Now the efforts have moved onshore.

“We’re retrofitting existing equipment, but we’re also seeing new-build equipment in pre-production stage coming off the manufacturing line,” Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of L.A., told ABC7. “We’re testing for duty cycle, torque, power, to move all this cargo and then bringing that information back to the engineers and scientists to improve even more.”

The changes haven’t been cheap. The Port of Los Angeles has spent over $500 million over the past two decades on infrastructure and reducing emissions. Now the focus is turning to big rigs that enter and exit the facility every day.

“Since the Clean Air Action Plan started in 2006, we’ve reduced the tailpipe exhaust by 90% her at the Port of L.A.,” Seroka said. “But it’s that last 10% that’s been elusive, where we really have to leap now from fossil fuels into alternative zero-emission energy.”

All of the 86 shoreside cranes that are putting cargo on and and taking it off the ships are already all-electric. But the port’s “moonshot” is to convert all of the yard equipment to zero-emission.

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Container handlers known as top picks, the workhorses of the terminal that move containers from one location to another, are being converted to zero-emission.

At the Port of Long Beach, testing the efficiency of zero-emission heavy equipment was part a pilot project at Pier J. Rubber-tired gantry cranes have been converted to electricity instead of diesel, thanks to a $9.7 million grant.

“We’re looking at ways that we can deploy larger numbers of this equipment in other operations and be able to ultimately convert all of the terminal equipment to zero-emissions by 2030,” said Heather Tomley, the Port of Long Beach’s managing director of planning and environmental affairs.

The two ports, managing almost 4,000 pieces of cargo-handling equipment combined, are aiming for zero emissions by 2030. That would continue to improve the local environment, but the example set for the industry worldwide might help save the planet.

“This is absolutely cutting-edge, innovative technology and implementation,” Tomley said. “We are setting the standards and developing equipment that’s never been developed before, and other ports around the world are looking at what we are doing here and seeing how they can implement something similar in their areas.”

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