Posts Tagged ‘ports’
we’ve learned very little, except that fighting Big Oil and especially ExxonMobil is never-ending.
It’s been 25 years since the Exxon Valdez disaster. It’s a major reason for this blog’s existence; I’ve learned that ExxonMobil is bigger and more powerful than ever, and it’s grip on our lives is unrelenting.
ExxonMobil is an empire with it’s own set of rules; it does nothing that will weaken that empire.
A case in point from Friends of the Earth:
Despite the tragic damage to the ocean, wildlife and people, to say nothing of the score of spills since 24 March 1989, the oil industry and its supporters in Congress are pressuring the Obama administration to rescind a 40-year old ban on the export of U.S. crude oil. Lifting the ban would unleash a flood of oil tankers on our ports, significantly increasing the risk of another disaster.
“The Obama administration is turning a blind eye to the anticipated climate and environmental impacts of exporting fossil fuels like Bakken shale and Powder River Basin coal from the U.S., while at the same time touting a climate plan that claims to reduce our damaging impact here at home,” said Marcie Keever, Friends of the Earth’s Oceans and vessels program director. “On top of that, the administration may actually be considering lifting the ban on U.S. crude oil exports, which would exponentially increase climate change and the risks of more Exxon Valdez and Gulf oil spill disasters.”
An infographic, “Gateway to Extinction,” from Friends of the Earth and Healthy Planet/Healthy People details the potential threats posed by the proposed fossil fuel export terminal and pipeline projects in the Northwest. It also shows how lifting the ban would exponentially increase those threats.
The Supreme Court will hear a trucking industry challenge to rules Los Angeles adopted five years ago that are designed to curb truck emissions at the nation’s busiest port.
The case (American Trucking Associations vs. City of Los Angeles) will determine the constitutionality of certain provisions of the Clean Truck Program at the Port of Los Angeles. Similar rules are also in force at the nearby Port of Long Beach. The question centers on whether cities and states have authority to limit pollution from trucks moving long-haul cargo.
The answer to that question would seem a no-brainer, especially in environmental circles, but the ATA contends that the local clean truck regulations run afoul of a federal law that deregulated motor carriers. So complications ensue. There is a provision in the law that preempts any state or local measure that is “related to the price, route or service of any motor carrier.” The purpose of that provision is to speed the free flow of trucks, buses and other shippers and to prevent local or state rules that would add to costs to those movements. Read the rest of this entry »
Say you’re watching Ed or Rachel for your daily dose of progressive news on MSNBC; they go to a commercial break and this 30-second ad pops up:
Just in time for the regulatory review and so-called scoping coal export proposal season here in the Northwest! It prompted me to take a look at the website that flashes briefly during the ad – the Alliance for Northwest Jobs & Exports.
One minor detail that gets brushed aside is that this is about selling cheap and dirty coal to international – mostly Asian – markets and hauling tens of millions of tons of it through heavily populated regions in the Pacific Northwest to new and/or upgraded export shipping terminals. Even the alliance’s name shuns the four-letter word. Jobs! Exports! Who can oppose that? Read the rest of this entry »
Seattle’s City Council unanimously passed a resolution opposing the development of coal-export terminals in Washington State, but what does it really mean? Actually not much – it’s a victory, sort of, for environmental activists that are fighting proposals to transport coal on 1.5 mile-long trains through the region for eventual export to China.
But the city council has no real say on what happens with this issue; it was an easy vote for the council members. But it is a clear message from a city and port that prides itself on its greenness. (Regarding the Port of Seattle: the port’s opposition to a new sports arena in the SoDo district for NBA-starved fans because of “traffic” is both heartless, tone deaf, short-sighted and incredibly lame – but I digress.) Read the rest of this entry »
Containerization revolutionized the maritime freight transportation industry more than 50 years ago; those ubiquitous 20- and 40-foot steel intermodal boxes seen in ports and on truck and rail chassis have made cargo handling faster, easier, safer and more efficient.
The next revolutionary phase of containerization might well reside in the vertical folding container from Staxxon Technologies, a clever solution to the old trade imbalance problem of moving and repositioning empty containers from where the freight isn’t to where the freight is. Read the rest of this entry »
A little hometown cooking today: Here’s to the Port of Seattle on its 100 birthday!
Some of us are lucky to live and work in their favorite city (and port) either by happenstance or design. I count myself among those persons, having lived here since 1994 through pain, loss, success, fun, tugboat races, seafood, Seafair pirates, the Seattle Mariners and, well, living. There’s no place quite like Seattle for all of that.
Governor Gregoire has declared today “Port of Seattle Day” in Washington, marking the centennial of the port, which has served as the region’s major economic engine. The port generates nearly 200,000 jobs across the state and $867 million in state and local tax revenues. For more, visit the centennial website at www.portseattle100.org.
Goods movement stakeholders in port areas and the Environmental Protection Agency have launched an initiative that’s designed to help clear the air and reduce emissions in the nation’s port areas.
The EPA SmartWay Drayage Program builds on clean truck programs that have been around at various port regions for several years.
The players with the EPA in the nationwide initiative include: The Coalition for Responsible Transportation and the Environmental Defense Fund. The CRT partners comprise: Best Buy; Hewlett Packard; Home Depot; JC Penney; Lowe’s; Nike; Target; Wal-Mart; and the following port trucking carriers: California Cartage Express, LLC; California Multimodal, LLC; Container Connection; Evans Delivery Company, Inc.; GSC Logistics; PDS Trucking Inc.; Performance Team/Gale Triangle; Total Transportation Services, Inc.; and the Western Ports Transportation.
The launch was announced recently at the Port of Charleston, SC. According to the joint announcement, the program “builds a partnership between numerous goods movement stakeholders including major national retailers, trucking companies, port communities, environmental groups and the U.S. EPA to solve a critical health and environmental challenge: how to reduce harmful air emissions from port drayage trucks.”
Drayage trucks, which haul cargo containers arriving at ports to storage areas, transload centers and nearby distribution centers, are usually old and a major source of diesel emissions in and around port areas. Getting those vehicles off the road is one of the thorniest and most controversial port and transportation issues around.
In a statement, Rick Gabrielson, who is the CRT President and is Target’s Director of Import Operations, said, “This partnership will generate private sector investment in clean technology, improve the environmental quality of our nation’s port communities and demonstrate the commitment we have made as the shipping industry’s leaders to emissions reductions.”
The program “offers great incentives for independent owner operators and trucking companies to replace their older drayage trucks with cleaner, less polluting models,” said Marcia Aronoff, the EDF’s senior vice president for programs. “With the rise in population and the growth of the freight transportation industry, we must be vigilant, forward thinking and creative in finding solutions that reduce toxic emissions and embrace market-based sustainability efforts.”
The drayage program is based on the EPA’s SmartWay Transport Partnership, generally regarded as an innovative and successful collaboration between the EPA and goods movement interests. The voluntary program provides a framework for assessing and addressing transportation-related emissions and energy efficiency while recognizing superior environmental performance through market-based incentives.
Under the program, port trucking companies and independent owner-operators sign a partnership agreement and commit to track diesel emissions, replace their older dirtier trucks with cleaner, newer ones, and achieve at least a 50 percent reduction in particulate matter and 25 percent reduction in nitrous oxide (NOx) below the national industry average within three years.
Then the SmartWay retailers sign a partnership agreement, committing to ship at least 75 percent of their port cargo with SmartWay trucking companies within three years.
“By giving business priority to SmartWay drayage carriers, the program creates a market-driven approach to incentivize emissions reductions at port communities across the country,” EPA says.
This approach has worked well in the Pacific Northwest, where market-based clean truck programs between stakeholders at the ports of Seattle and Tacoma have been around since 2008 and have removed hundreds of dirty drayage trucks from those port areas.
It’s not necessarily an either/or proposition. Logistics managers trying to optimize supply chains for sustainability and emissions reductions face a tough question: how to implement those goals without breaking the bank.
The conventional thinking is that there’s always tradeoff: A transport company can reduce its CO2 emissions along a supply chain, but at a higher operating cost. Often much higher.
Findings released last month during a webinar sponsored by Finished Vehicle Logistics magazine suggest that in certain cases at least the best of both worlds is possible. Read the rest of this entry »
Maersk Line, the world’s largest container ship operator, is building a fleet of the world’s largest container vessels—in a deal that includes 10 firm orders and another 20 on option for a total potential cost of $5.7 billion—to transport freight in the Asia-Europe trade.
The Danish company is calling these mega-ships—each capable of carrying the equivalent of 18,000 twenty-foot containers—the Triple-E. Maersk says that is for economy of scale, energy efficiency and environmentally improved.
The latter item is a major marketing point, especially for shippers with sustainability and environmental commitments for their products and supply chains. Maersk contends that the ships will bring significant environmental improvements in terms of reduced emissions to the shipping table. Think of it as a more is less approach. The company claims the vessels will produce “the lowest possible amount of CO2 emissions — an astonishing 50 percent less CO2 per container moved than the industry average on the Asia–Europe trade.” Read the rest of this entry »