Port of Oakland and SSA Invest in Hybrid RTGs

File image courtesy Port of Oakland

By The Maritime Executive 03-28-2019 11:04:30

The Port of Oakland announced Wednesday that terminal operator SSA Terminals is converting 13 diesel-powered rubber-tired gantry cranes (RTGs) at the port's largest terminal to run on hybrid power. The modification is expected to result in an annual 45-ton reduction in diesel-related air pollutants.

The first hybrid crane began service March 5 at Oakland International Container Terminal, and the rest of the terminal’s retrofitted fleet will come online by next year. Each crane is being equipped with batteries and new, smaller diesel backup engines.

“This is the Prius of cargo-handling equipment,” said Port of Oakland Environmental Planner Catherine Mukai. “We’re gratified that our partners at the terminal are taking this step to help clear the air.”

In July 2018, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District awarded SSA a $5 million grant for the hybrid project through its Community Health Protection Grant Program. SSA Terminals is spending about $1 million more to retrofit its cranes. The fuel savings are so good that SSA could recoup its costs within two years.

“We depend heavily on this equipment to keep cargo flowing smoothly,” said Jim Rice, General Manager at Oakland International Container Terminal. “We’re pleased to find a solution that makes us more efficient and at the same time benefits the environment.”

Port of Oakland isn't the only California port investing in green equipment. At Port of Long Beach Pier T, the California Energy Commission is helping to fund the installation of fast-charging infrastructure and the purchase of four battery-powered yard tractors. Long Beach is also building a giant new terminal complex, Middle Harbor, that will feature electric rail-mounted gantry cranes in its stacking yard, shore power connections and solar panels.