Our approach to air quality—as with other environmental issues—focuses on leadership instead of compliance.

Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy

Adopted in 2008 by the ports of Tacoma, Seattle and Metro Vancouver, B.C., the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy established short- and long-term goals to reduce seaport-related air emissions in the region. The strategy marked the first such international cooperative effort in the port community.

Strategy Update

In the Update to the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy, the three ports outline 2015 and 2020 goals to further reduce maritime-related diesel emissions from cargo-handling equipment, rail, harbor craft, ocean-going vessels and trucks.

Based on the results of the 2011 Puget Sound Maritime Air Inventory, the goals aim to reduce diesel emissions 75 percent per ton of cargo by 2015 and 80 percent by 2020. Combined with projected cargo growth, this will result in overall reductions of 70 percent by 2015 and 75 percent by 2020.

Clean Truck Program

Our Clean Truck Program takes a market-based approach to help drayage trucks reduce emissions to meet the Strategy's goals.

Drayage trucks serving our terminals must have 1994 or newer model year engines. By Jan. 1, 2018, all drayage trucks must have 2007 or newer model year engines. Trucks that comply with the program are issued stickers to display on the driver's side door for entrance into Port terminals. Register your truck.

Trucks without stickers and out of compliance will be identified, and the operator will be notified that the truck does not comply with our requirements.

Program objectives

  • Improve Port efficiencies and truck traffic flow
  • Referrals to funding and modernization opportunities
  • Communication and outreach to the trucking community
  • Identify and notify trucks that do not meet engine model year standards

Drayage truck studies

We conduct quarterly studies of the drayage truck fleet serving our terminals to track progress towards the engine model year standards.

Regional cooperation

Recognizing the regional nature of the transportation system and related air emissions, we are partnering with the Port of Seattle to:

  • Implement common components of both ports' clean truck programs
  • Coordinate efforts to expedite transportation infrastructure improvements and regional congestion relief

Elements of our program

  • Maintain a database of trucks serving the Port, including truck age and owner information.
  • Partner with trade and nongovernmental organizations to identify funding opportunities and options to modernize and retrofit drayage fleets.
  • Communicate with the local trucking community through real-time communications, regular meetings to share best practices and a dedicated website allowing truckers to receive such information as turn times at terminals and vessel arrivals.
  • Inform an advisory committee comprised of representatives from the maritime industry, air agencies, trucking and logistics companies on the quarterly progress toward the Clean Truck Program goals.
  • Use intelligent transportation systems (ITS) to investigate and improve truck transportation efficiencies.
  • Explore options for congestion relief.

2011 Puget Sound Maritime Air Emissions Inventory

Maritime-related air pollution has decreased—as much as 40 percent, depending on the type—since 2005, according to the 2011 Puget Sound Maritime Air Emissions Inventory, an update to the 2005 baseline inventory.

The inventory estimated greenhouse gases, diesel particulate matter and a number of other pollutants related to ships, harbor vessels, cargo-handling equipment, rail, heavy-duty trucks and other fleet vehicles associated with maritime activities. See the results.

On-dock rail

Our four dockside rail yards move cargo efficiently from container terminals and also help reduce the number of trucks on city streets and highways. Each full train that leaves the Port represents 250 to 300 trucks not on our roads, reducing roadway congestion and diesel emissions.

Green Gateway study

The lowest emission route to ship cargo from Asia to the U.S. Midwest is through the Puget Sound, according to the results of the Green Gateway study released in May 2009.

Commissioned by the Port of Seattle, the study analyzed carbon footprints of trade routes between Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai, and the U.S. distribution hubs of Chicago, Columbus and Memphis.