Statistics on Pollution in Ports - Free Essay on Environmental Problems

Published: 2017-12-06
Statistics on Pollution in Ports - Free Essay on Environmental Problems
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Environment Ecology Water Pollution
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1419 words
12 min read


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The methodology will feature review of literature relating to port emissions. The methodology, therefore, will feature a synthesis of the literature that has been identified in the previous section so as to identify the present position and future directions of research. As the definition of a Synthesis, the combination of ideas and previous researches to form a theory or system, and also based on the nature of every review, three main steps adopted will include:

1-Understanding various bodies and research on the port emissions. This part will feature two types of review efforts;

A)The reviews and summaries from authoritative agencies and research organizations such as the EPA, SCAG, HEI, Los Angeles Collaborative for Environmental Health and Justice, Port of Houston Authority.

B)The reviews conducted by individual researchers that give more details on specific research topics.

2- Studying some of the effects of the pollutants, and

3- Considering current strategies and suggesting future plans.

This research therefore seeks to use heavy duty port trucks to compare the emissions in relation to the weight trucks with their being Light Heavy Duty Trucks, Medium Heavy Duty Trucks, and Heavy Heavy duty trucks. This involves the use of three categories of Heavy Duty vehicles based on gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), shown in table 3, with the light Heavy Duty (LHD) category sometimes split into LHD1 and LHD2. (SCAG, 2012)

The speed of the ocean going vessels has also been assumed because emission may change based on the speed of the vessel. For instance, the slow speed diesel and medium speed diesel emit 18.1 and 14.0 cubic feet of NOx respectively. Therefore, this seems to suggest that the slower the speed of the mobile source, the higher the level of emission. This may also be related to the idle trucks on ports whose engines are still running. The more they stay idle, the higher the eventual emission will be.


Emission analysis


From the literature being synthesized, it is clear that emissions on ports are due to mobile sources especially heavy duty trucks. As such, these are the main sources of emissions. From the analysis, it is noted that port truck activities on Port of Long Beach, Port of Los Angeles and Port of Oakland generated approximately 7,075 tons per year (TPY) of NOx and 564 tons per year of diesel PM in 2005. These figures represent 23 percent of all port-related NOx emissions and nine percent of all port-related diesel PM emissions, percentages that are so high and need to be reduced. Additionally, in 2010, Heavy Duty trucks contributed 75% of the NOx emissions and 58% the PM2.5 emissions from goods movement. Yet another high value of emissions that represent a danger to the environment and the ozone layer. Freight trains contribute 4-5% of goods movement emissions. This percentage of emission from freight trains is not as high when compared with the percentage by heavy duty diesel trucks. From this literature, it has also been noted that not all potential hot spots are actually suffering the consequences of emissions. This is due to the wind factor which blows the emissions to neighboring regions which are not considered hot spots, or even potential hotspots.

Research by the EPA (2011) shows that there is an increased emission for slow speed diesel engines. This may be because they have lower pressure fuel injection systems, and also use non refined residual oil. Most of the value obtained for ocean going vessels may not be accurate as figures for the emission factors are assumed and obtained from approximated ratios. Therefore, it is possible that most of the results obtained are also full of discrepancies. Some vessels may be producing a lot of emissions in reality while the figure obtained from the assumed ratios may prove otherwise. This also affects future directions for research, as well as the efforts of trying to control the port emissions since the focus may be towards the wrong direction. The higher the capacity of a port, the higher the emission it is expected to produce. This is because it will trigger high traffic as trucks come for inspection, loading and offloading of their cargo. This is why Bayport is expected to be a hot spot for emissions.

The U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not offer sufficient guidance in relation to the creation of port emission inventories. On the other hand, only the big ports have the required extensive resources to devote to this development. As a result, small and medium sized ports are without effective inventories, with majority suffering from poor quantification and lack of up to date emission factors. According to Miguel (2006), to be specific about the role of Heavy Duty Diesel Trucks at Ports area emission, it can be seen that port truck activities on Port of Long Beach, Port of Los Angeles and Port of Oakland generated approximately 7,075 tons per year (TPY) of NOx and 564 tons per year of diesel PM in 2005. These emissions represent 23 percent of all port-related NOx emissions and nine percent of all port-related diesel PM emissions. (Miguel, 2006).

Table 3: Heavy Duty Vehicle Classes

Heavy Duty Vehicle Classes Description of Vehicle

Weight Class (lbs)

Light Heavy Duty trucks (LHD) 1


Light Heavy Duty Trucks (LHD) 2


Medium Heavy Duty trucks (MHD)


Heavy Heavy Duty trucks (HHD)


Heavy duty trucks emissions

The results of Heavy Duty trucks emissions were 23% of NOx and 9% of PM2.5 emissions. Figure 1 shows the current sources of goods movement emissions in SCAG by Source, 2010. Heavy Duty trucks contribute 75% of the NOx emissions and 58% the PM2.5 emissions from goods movement. Freight trains contribute 4-5% of goods movement emissions. (SCAG, 2012) Therefore, there has been a drastic increase in port emissions for both the NOx and PM2.5 since the percentage has increased from the year 2006 to 2010.

The Port of Houston is the sixth largest in the world and first in foreign tonnage. Notably, this port operates in 100000 barges which are 7000 vessels annually. Having ten facilities, covering a total of 9000 acres and operating general cargo and containers, it is no doubt that this port is one of the largest contributors to air emissions (Blume, 2005). It is important to restate the main sources of emissions at the ports which include the port stationary sources, mobile and non-port sources. The port of Houston emissions can be summarised in the following table. Essential to note is that the data below represents the percentages of different sources across the three main port emission sources.

Table 4: Port of Houston NOx emission sources of in both numbers and percentages (Blume, 2005)


Numbers of trucks emitting NOx

Percentages of NOx emissions

Terminal tractors















PHA Barbour Cut Terminal



PHA Turning Basin terminal



Emission analytics

Several air initiatives have been developed to address the emissions at the port of Houston. These include emission inventory on both CHE and OGV. Other initiatives have included determining the PHA controllable sources, research, and development to devise new technologies that reduce the emissions, research on funding opportunities, projects demonstration and implemented control strategies. In considering some of the technological demonstrations that have been developed, they have included Lubrizol’s PuriNOx which provides ease in conversion. The Lubrizol PuriMuffler is also a technological development that ensures PM reduction and low costs. In the propane, some of the technological demonstrations have included infrastructure in the operability and vehicle availability. The Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) reduces the emissions by 80%. Regarding the technological advancements, they have included improvements in the visual test, easy installation, and reduction of maintenance. In line with addressing future concerns, some of the opportunities that are being looked into include the use of fuel additives such as Ultra-Low Sulphur Diesel (ULSD) and Texas Low Emission Diesel (TxLED). Other opportunities include the SCR advancements, use of the fuel cells and railroad engine controls. It is also crucial to include the environment management systems that are in line with the air quality goals. Considering the goals of port of Houston, they have included reducing the NOx by 25%, ensuring a decrease in the VOC emissions and implementation of the greenhouse gases inventories on all the port’s equipment. With this regard, some of the software includes EMS which is based on organization and monitoring of the data while tracking the performance (Blume, 2005). It is also crucial to consider the future air emissions control initiatives. Such include the tenant stakeholder group, quality program, greenhouse gases, programs aimed at green building and alternative power study.

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