Ports Join Climate Action Movement

When San Francisco hosted the 2018 Global Climate Action Summit last month, it brought together state and local governments, businesses and citizens from around the world to showcase climate action taking place.


Published: October, 2018


When San Francisco hosted the 2018 Global Climate Action Summit last month, it brought together state and local governments, businesses and citizens from around the world to showcase climate action taking place. The summit sought to demonstrate how the tide has turned in the race against climate change.


To keep global warming well below two degrees Celsius, and ideally pursue 1.5 degrees—temperatures that still could lead to catastrophic consequences—worldwide emissions must start trending downward.


The summit hoped to give world leaders the confidence that they can go even further in reducing emissions by 2020. The summit’s five headline challenge areas were: healthy energy systems; inclusive economic growth; sustainable communities; land trans-formative climate investments; and finally, ocean stewardship.


The event also paid tribute to a handful of ports that are inspiring deeper national commitments in support of the Paris Agreement. The nation’s largest port, Los Angeles/Long Beach, joined six other international ocean cargo gateways in an initiative called the World Ports Climate Action Program. The seven ports have agreed to focus on five concrete actions:


Increase efficiency of supply chains using digital tools.

Advance common and ambitious public policy approaches aimed at reducing emissions within larger geographical areas.

Accelerate development of in-port renewable power-to-ship solutions and other zero emission solutions.

Accelerate the development of commercially viable sustainable low-carbon fuels for maritime transport and infrastructure for electrification of ship propulsion systems.

Accelerate efforts to fully decarbonize cargo-handling facilities in our ports.



The World Ports Sustainability Program was initiated by the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH). The program was officially launched last March, in partnership with several other international and regional port-related organizations.


“As coordinators of the World Ports Sustainability Program, our aim is to develop new tools, building on existing ones such as the Environmental Ship Index and low-carbon fuel bunkering guidelines, which can be used by all ports on a global scale,” said IAPH Managing Director Patrick Verhoeven. “These seven port authorities and their collaboration will accelerate that process—our job will be to ensure that ports worldwide benefit from their knowhow and innovations as a ‘coalition of the willing’ to reduce greenhouse gases.”


Port of Oakland Has Record August, TraPac Will Add Night Gates

Across the Bay, California’s third-largest ocean cargo gateway, the Port of Oakland, had a pretty good summer. Indeed, August was the busiest month in the port’s 91-year history, with a throughput of 85,166 loaded 20-foot import containers.


August through October is traditionally the highwater mark for container shipping. It’s the time of year when U.S. retailers stock shelves for holiday merchandising. “We’re encouraged by the solid start to peak season, but there’s still uncertainty in the trade environment,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll. “Let’s see what the next few months bring.”


Meanwhile, port authorities here are hardly becoming complacent. Another Port of Oakland marine terminal operator has announced that it’s opening night gates to accelerate containerized cargo flow. TraPac, Oakland’s second-largest terminal, plans to add a second shift for harbor truckers beginning October 15.


The move enables thousands of drivers to pick up or drop off Oakland containerized cargo from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m., Monday through Thursday. That would give freight haulers access to the terminal outside busier daytime hours. Port officials said night operations should accelerate cargo flow while reducing truck queues that sometimes build outside terminal gates.


TraPac becomes the second major marine terminal in Oakland to open at night for harbor truckers. Oakland International Container Terminal, the Port’s largest terminal, introduced night gates at the port two years ago. Together the terminals process about 80 percent of all containerized cargo in Oakland.


The port said night operations would provide benefits across the supply chain, including: enhanced velocity for shippers; less downtime for drivers; and mitigation of marine terminal congestion. TraPac said harbor drivers would be allowed to perform the range of cargo transactions at night. Those including picking up import containers or dropping off exports.


The terminal said it will assess a $30 fee on all loaded containers moving in or out of TraPac beginning October 29. According to spokespeople, the fee will cover night gate costs, principally for additional labor. It is unclear how shippers will react to the additional costs.


TraPac is in the middle of a two-year project to double the size of its Oakland operations. The terminal expects to conclude construction by the end of the year.


Patrick Burnson is the executive editor of Logistics Management. www.logisticsmgmt.com