New strategy helps ports go green
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
has unveiled a new plan of action for working with public port authorities
and other interested groups to reduce the environmental impacts of moving
goods through ports.
The Vision, Mission, and Strategy for Sustainable Ports
recognizes the steady growth in global maritime commerce and the critical
role American ports and related transportation and supply chain partners
play in managing the environmental impacts of moving goods across the
Ports are vital to the United States economy. Ocean-going
ships move more than 99 percent of United States overseas trade (by weight).
The top ten United States ports moved a combined total of 23 million
cargo containers in 2006. The environmental challenges for ports and
their transportation network include reducing air emissions, improving
water quality, and protecting the health of communities near port facilities.
EPA’s Strategy focuses on six themes: Clean Air and
Affordable Energy, Clean and Safe Water, Healthy Communities and Eco-systems,
Global Environment, Ports Communications, and Enforcement.
There are more than 70 possible actions, including
working with port authorities, their business partners and other sectors
of the transportation industry to quantify and reduce air emissions from
all sources along the shipping supply chain; setting up state innovative
financing funds to help small owner-operators of diesel equipment finance
the upgrading or replacement of older, dirtier engines; and collaborating
with the international port community on innovative technologies and
development of international standards.
EPA’s strategy complements the recent resolution and
guiding principles on port sustainability issued by the American Association
of Port Authorities (AAPA).
EPA programs will work with AAPA, individual port authorities,
private port operators, transportation supply and logistics companies,
government agencies, states, communities, and other interested groups
to promote and implement sustainable practices at ports and their related
EPA regions will work collaboratively with individual
ports to select (from among the full menu of possible actions in the
EPA Strategy) a specific set of activities to work on together. These
shared action plans will address the unique environmental impacts and
opportunities for ports in different parts of the country.