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Port of Baltimore Wins Grant for Emissions Reductions

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Baltimore's Seagirt Marine Terminal, foreground (file image)

By The Maritime Executive 01-06-2020 07:53:00

 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded the Port of Baltimore $1.8 million in Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) funds to replace older diesel-powered equipment with newer, cleaner vehicles. The grant will cover about 44 dray trucks, which are used for transporting shipping containers to and from the Port, and four pieces of heavy cargo-handling equipment.

“This EPA grant will help us continue cleaning the air around the Port of Baltimore,” said Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. “Working with our federal partners, the Port is showing how to be a responsible steward of the environment and, at the same time, break cargo records, grow business and expand jobs for Marylanders.”

DERA funding is administered by the EPA through its national Clean Diesel Program. It is estimated that the replacement equipment acquired for the Port through the DERA grant will result in a lifetime reduction of emissions output of about 14 tons of particulate matter, 290 tons of nitrogen oxides, 96 tons of carbon monoxide and 15 tons of hydrocarbons.

The federal grant complements the Port’s own Diesel Equipment Upgrade Program, which also focuses on replacement or retrofit of older equipment with newer and more emission-efficient technology. Since launching the program in 2008, the Port has replaced more than 200 dray trucks and 110 pieces of cargo-handling equipment, repowered 10 marine engines and retrofitted 16 locomotive engines. Overall, those upgrades have resulted in reductions of 3,304 tons of nitrogen oxide, 922 tons of carbon monoxide, 165 tons of particulate matter and 141 tons of hydrocarbons. 

“Through initiatives like our Diesel Equipment Upgrade Program and EPA’s Clean Diesel Program, we have reduced pollutants in the air around the Port by more than 10,000 tons in the past 12 years,” said David Thomas, acting executive director of the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Port Administration (MDOT MPA).

Thomas was named to his current post on January 1 following the departure of longtime MDOT MPA Executive Director James J. White. Mr. Thomas has been with the MDOT MPA for 20 years, and he has served as deputy executive director of logistics and port operations since December 2016.  

The Port of Baltimore ranks first among the nation’s ports for volume of autos and light trucks, roll on/roll off heavy farm and construction machinery, imported sugar and imported gypsum. It ranks 11th among major U.S. ports for cargo handled and ninth nationally for total cargo value.

Final figures for 2019 are not yet available, but in 2018 the Port handled a record 43 million tons of international cargo at its state- and privately-owned marine terminals. The value of that cargo was also a benchmark: $59.7 billion. The state-owned public terminals handled nearly 11 million tons of general cargo and a record 850,147 cars and light trucks, which was the most in the U.S. for the eighth consecutive year.

The Port of Baltimore generates about 15,000 direct jobs, with nearly 140,000 jobs overall linked to Port activities. The average salary for people with direct jobs at the Port is nearly 10 percent higher than the average annual wage in Maryland. The Port is responsible for nearly $3.3 billion in personal wages and salaries and $2.6 billion in business revenues.