The journey toward net-zero emissions is well underway at ports on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. Here’s a summary of 10 key measures being adopted.
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As seen in Postmedia publications
Ships rely on auxiliary engines to generate electricity while docked, similar to a car that idles to keep its air conditioner running. By helping vessels hook into the local electricity grid at dock, several ports have significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions and noise — more than 2,500 tonnes per year at the Port of Montreal alone.
Shore power for ships
Electrified shore equipment
Ports are phasing out diesel-fueled cranes, forklifts and wheel-loaders, and investing in electric-powered equivalents.
Hybrid and electric land vehicles
As ports upgrade their land vehicle fleets, many are switching to hybrid and/or electric models. To encourage further use of electric vehicles, ports are also installing electric vehicle charging outlets on their properties.
Renewable energy for sustainable operations
Ports are using wind turbines, solar panels and hydroelectric energy to power their offices and other operations. The Port of Toronto has been fully powered by renewable energy for more than a decade. At the Port of Milwaukee Administration Building, a 100-kilowatt turbine has prevented 1,025 metric tons of carbon emissions in the last decade (the energy needed to power 123 homes for a year).
Helping ships transition to low carbon fuels
As ships transition to alternative fuels like liquefied natural gas (LNG), and future fuels like hydrogen and methanol, specialized storage and fuelling equipment will be required at ports. Services and infrastructure to refuel ships with LNG have been offered in Hamilton and Montreal.
Green Marine environmental
Green Marine is an environmental certification program for the marine sector in North America. To remain certified, ports must show year-over-year improvement in nine key performance indictors, including environmental leadership and greenhouse gas emissions.
Eco-friendly cargo incentives
Some ports offer discounts to ship owners that meet targets for sustainability. For example, the Port of Quebec reduces harbour dues by up to 30 per cent for ship owners that meet the highest certification level under the Green Marine or RightShip programs.
Managing truck traffic
Trucks visit ports throughout the day to load and unload cargo. Many ports have anti-idling policies and measures to minimize wait times, which reduces total carbon emissions.
Reducing energy consumption
Ports are installing energy-efficient lighting in their buildings, warehouses and on the docks themselves.
Indoor bike racks and shower facilities are provided at several ports, as a way of encouraging employees to bike to work.