Commerce at the Port of Baltimore depends on ships that work the water, as well as trucks, trains, and heavy equipment that handle cargo on the docks. Each burns fuel that adds emissions and ground-level ozone pollution to the air.
MPA recognizes that air quality is a major issue for the Baltimore metropolitan region, which fails to meet federal standards for ozone. State and federal policies are in place to help clean the air, including Maryland's commitment to a 25% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020.
MPA is doing its part to address the problem by assessing and reducing the emissions generated by MPA operations and by encouraging other Port businesses to do the same.
Two air emissions inventory studies related to port activities have been completed in the last several years. They include landside operations, tugboat and trucking operations, cargo handling equipment (such as forklifts, cranes, and generators), heavy-duty diesel vehicles, and rail locomotives. These inventories help MPA plan its pollution reduction strategies and also provide the Maryland Department of the Environment with data for a state-wide assessment of air quality.
Listed below are several ways that MPA is working to reduce emissions now and in the future.
MPA was the first port in the United States to install diesel oxidation catalysts (DOCs) on a ship-to-shore crane. The MPA also installed DOCs on all twelve rubber tired gantry cranes. A DOC uses chemicals to break down pollutants in the exhaust stream into less harmful components. DOCs have also been mounted on a number of MPA fleet vehicles. These combined efforts reduced particulate matter emissions by 20%, hydrocarbon emissions by 80%, and carbon monoxide emissions by 90%.
A grant from the U.S. EPA will assist the Port of Baltimore in reducinf air emissions from several sources including dray trucks, tugs, locomotives and cargo handling equipment.
A grant from the EPA will support an international study of opportunities for decreasing the carbon (greenhouse gas) and particulates emitted from oceangoing vessels, harbor craft, and locomotives serving the Port.
A grant from the EPA upgraded 16 pieces of heavy, off-road construction equipment that operate at Cox Creek, Hart-Miller Island, Poplar Island, and other dredged material placement sites. The upgrade will replace existing mufflers on each unit with diesel particulate filters. These filters will achieve 89% emissions reductions for particulate matter, 93% reductions for hydrocarbons, and 90% reductions for carbon monoxide.
All MPA diesel-powered vehicles and equipment use ultra-low sulfur-bio diesel fuel, including the diesel-powered cranes and rubber tire gantry cranes. Flex-fuel vehicles, alternative fuel vehicles, and hybrid vehicles have been introduced into the MPA fleet.