- The Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore received a $1.8 million grant through the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) fund, according to a press release issued Monday.
- Port estimates state the funds will cover the replacement of 44 diesel-powered drayage trucks andid four pieces of cargo-handling equipment with newer, lower-emissions models.
- The port's 2008 Diesel Equipment Upgrade Program has replaced, "200 dray trucks and 110 pieces of cargo-handling equipment" and retrofitted marine and locomotive engines with newer, lower-emissions models.
For ports, sustainability commitments can be a value-add to attract shippers, who are increasingly attempting to reduce their supply chains' carbon footprint.
The Port of Baltimore's upgrade program can benefit owner-operators carrying loads at the port by allowing them to apply for funding of up to $30,000 towards the purchase of a truck model year 2014 or newer.
Thus far, the upgrade program and DERA-funded activities have, "reduced pollutants in the air around the Port by more than 10,000 tons in the past 12 years," according to David Thomas, acting executive director of the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Port Administration.
Port executives and Maryland state leaders have expressed support for the port's environmental initiatives, calling the reduced air and marine pollution a "win-win" for sustainability and the economy as it focuses on drawing shippers from competing ports in the region.
The investment comes as the port handled a record 43 million tons of cargo valued at $59.7 million in 2018. It ranks first in the nation for the volume of automobiles, light trucks, roll-on, roll-off trucks, heavy farm and construction machinery, imported sugar and imported gypsum it handles, according to the release, and second for imported coal.
Figures for 2019 are not yet available, but Richard Scher, director of communications for the Port of Baltimore, told Supply Chain Dive via email the port expects another record year.
The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach pursued similar emissions reduction programs over the past decade and found success.
The Port of Los Angeles' Clean Truck Program, in place since 2008, has reduced air pollution from drayage trucks by 90%, three years ahead of schedule according to the port's website. The port instituted a progressive ban on older trucks that didn't meet 2007 emissions standards, working up to present day where only model year 2014 trucks or newer are allowed to operate there. The Port of Long Beach's Clean Truck Program follows similar standards.