NY/NJ Ports Approve Air Quality Initiatives

Sept. 25, 2009
Vessel fleets calling on the Ports of New York and New Jersey will be affected by new air quality initiatives there

The Ports of New York and New Jersey Authority Board of Commissioners have authorized two initiatives to continue ongoing efforts to improve air quality in the region by providing incentives to shipping lines and terminal operators in the Port of New York and New Jersey to operate in a more environmentally friendly manner.

The Ocean-going Vessels Low Sulfur Fuel Program will encourage use of low-sulfur fuel by providing financial incentives to operators of ocean vessels for up to 50% of the cost differential between high-sulfur fuel and low-sulfur fuel. Vessel operators will absorb the remaining 50% of the cost differential, said the port authority. The vessels also must participate in a vessel speed reduction program to qualify for this program.

On the terminal side, The Cargo Handling Equipment Fleet Modernization Program will reimburse participating port tenants for 20% of the cost of replacing existing cargo handling equipment with new equipment that meets federal on-road air-emission standards as applicable, or the most recent federal off-road emissions standards. The tenant will be responsible for the remaining 80% of the cost. Approximately 125 pieces of cargo-handling equipment are expected to be replaced through this program, said port officials.

The board authorized approximately $9 million to cover the cost of the two programs—$6.36 million for the ocean-going vessel fuel program, and $2.24 million to help upgrade cargo-handling equipment.

As part of the port’s Clean Air Strategy, the board previously authorized a program to help replace more than 600 of the oldest, most polluting trucks serving the port with new models that generate less pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. All of the clean air initiatives are designed to help reduce port-related emissions of particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxides and greenhouse gas emissions, with the goal of achieving an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, said the Port Authority.

The Port Authority also announced it had completed the major components of its ExpressRail system, allowing it to accommodate up to 1.3 million cargo containers a year. The two projects just completed include a second lead track into ExpressRail Elizabeth and a rail support facility allowing storage for up to four 10,000 foot-long trains.

“We have an exceptional track record in making our port sustainable, including our multimillion-dollar ExpressRail program and land conservation efforts. These new programs will build on our past initiatives to be good environmental stewards in the region,” said Anthony R. Coscia, Port Authority chairman.

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