Air on the mend at Hampton Roads, Virginia harbor terminals

Crane_BridgeShipWay back when on Nov. 7, 2012, I wrote about air quality improvement at the Port of Long Beach. Time has come to turn attention to The Port of Virginia’s Hampton Roads Harbor.

On The Port of Virginia’s blog, the post dated Jan. 30, 2013 is titled: “Report: Port Cuts Emissions While Increasing Cargo Volumes.” This declaration – in the form of a title – pretty much speaks for itself.

The Port of Virginia writes: “The Virginia Port Authority (VPA) continues to reduce the amount of air pollution coming from its terminals in the Hampton Roads Harbor as a result of steps the agency has taken modernize equipment, utilize low-emissions diesel fuel and incentivize the use of clean diesel and fuel-saving technology.

“The reductions are reflected in a comprehensive air emissions inventory of operations at the VPA’s marine terminals in 2011. The study was commissioned by the VPA as part of its ongoing, proactive environmental policy.”

In this case the “criteria pollutants” identified consist of: Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), Particulate Matter (both PM 10 and PM 2.5), Sulfur Dioxide (SO2), Carbon Monoxide (CO) and Carbon Dioxide (CO2).

Moreover, “The evaluated modes included: ocean-going vessels; ship assist tugs known as harbor craft; cargo handling equipment; rail locomotives; and on-road heavy duty vehicles, which are primarily over-the-road trucks,” according to The Port of Virginia via its blog.

At Hampton Roads, container volume at the port increased 18.4 percent in 2011 versus 2008.

Comparing ‘11 to ‘08 emissions numbers, meanwhile, data indicate there was a: 23 percent reduction in NOx; 50 percent reduction in both PM 10 and PM 2.5; 60 percent drop in SO2; 33 percent decline in CO; and 4.3 percent cut in CO2.

Reduction numbers like that are an encouraging sign, indeed.

“Emissions levels were calculated using an integrated terminal capacity model developed by the engineering firm Moffatt & Nichol to assess activity and operational efficiency levels based on cargo throughput at the terminals,” The Port of Virginia acknowledged.

– Alan Kandel