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Rail News: Intermodal

Emissions drop in Puget Sound region, maritime forum says


The Puget Sound Maritime Air Forum recently released the 2011 Puget Sound Maritime Air Emissions Inventory, which shows maritime-related air pollution decreased as much as 40 percent compared with a previous emissions inventory conducted in 2005.

Compiled by Starcrest Consulting Group, the inventory estimates greenhouse gases, diesel particulate matter and other pollutants emitted by ships, harbor vessels, rail and cargo-handling equipment, heavy-duty trucks and other vehicles associated with maritime activities. The area analyzed by the inventory includes ports in Seattle and Tacoma, Wash., and Vancouver, British Columbia.

The 2011 report shows diesel particulate matter emissions from locomotives dropped 24 percent since 2005. In addition, heavy-duty vehicle emissions plunged 52 percent, followed by fleet vehicles at 47 percent, cargo-handling equipment at 40 percent and ocean-going vessels at 16 percent.

Overall, volatile organic compound emissions fell 40 percent; particulate matter, fine particulate matter and diesel particulate matter emissions each dropped 16 percent; nitrogen oxide and sulfur oxide emissions each declined 14 percent; and carbon dioxide emissions decreased 5 percent.

"The maritime industry has adopted a number of voluntary initiatives to reduce emissions, including switching to low-sulfur or biodiesel fuels, using shore power, replacing or retrofitting older engines, and improving systems to use equipment more efficiently," Puget Sound Maritime Air Forum officials said in a prepared statement.

In addition, a Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy developed by the three ports has helped further reduce emissions in the area, while engine and fuel standards have spurred the adoption of newer engines and cleaner fuels, they said.

The inventory results will help focus future efforts and investments on additional emission reductions, forum officials said. In addition, the ports of Seattle and Tacoma plan to update their Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy goals based on the results.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/5/2012