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National Clean Diesel Campaign (NCDC)

Working Together for Cleaner Air

Ports & Marine

terminal at port

What Terminal Operators and Fleet Owners Can Do

Terminal operators and managers are the key to a seamless flow of cargo that drives a successful port. Equipment owners and operators have many ways to reduce diesel emissions while maintaining or growing a healthy bottom line.

Establish anti-idling policies

By establishing an anti-idling policy for trucks, locomotives and cargo handling equipment, diesel emissions can be effectively reduced. Turning off engines when not in use is the smartest and easiest way to reduce air pollution and save money. Not only does unnecessary idling waste fuel, but it causes wear and tear on the engine which requires more maintenance. EPA's SmartWay program maintains a list of verified idle reduction technologies.

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Expand off-peak operations hours to avoid congestion

By extending terminal gate hours beyond the regular schedule or offering incentives for off-peak operations, truck queuing, idling, and traffic congestion are shortened. Not only does this increase flow and efficiency, but reduces the impacts of diesel exhaust during ozone hours.

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Retrofit with verified technologies, use cleaner fuels and operate more efficiently

Install emission reduction devices, replace engines or equipment, use cleaner fuels, and implement operational efficiencies which have been tested and verified. These technologies are cost-effective and yield substantial emission reductions. See EPA’s Technologies and Verification pages to learn more about available options. Visit the Grants & Funding pages for information on grants.

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Replace the oldest equipment/vehicles with newer, cleaner equipment/vehicles

Replacing older equipment or vehicles with newer, cleaner equipment/vehicles offers increased reliability, warranty benefits and often increases fuel economy and includes safety features.

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Maintain or rebuild engines

Engines that are properly maintained and tuned perform better and typically emit less pollution than engines that are not properly maintained. Rebuilding an engine can also significantly lower emissions, enhance performance and provide a cost-effective improvement for high value equipment. Proper maintenance or rebuilding lowers emissions by burning fuel more efficiently and can reduce operation costs and extend engine life.

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Substitute a highway engine for a non-road engine

For comparable model years, engine emissions standards are more stringent for on-road engines than for nonroad engines. By specifying on-road engines in off-road machinery, a terminal operator can reduce diesel emissions while often gaining fuel economy and more safety features.

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Substitute electric power for diesel power

Using electric shore side power at berth or "cold ironing," rather than running auxiliary diesel engines is effective for ports and vessels that have long hoteling times, multiple annual vessel calls, and high auxiliary power needs, such as cruise ships.

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Educate owners and operators and recognize those who reduce idling time

Guidance and education on air quality, air pollutants, technologies and ways to implement emissions reduction strategies not only increase awareness, but also increase the opportunities reduce emissions. Recognizing active participants who do not idle engines encourages more voluntary idle reduction. EPA has useful publications on these topics.

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Implement more efficient operational strategies

Better management in gate operations, stacking, homeland security, identification cards, direct inter-modal transfers for reduced container movement increases operational efficiency, decreases unnecessary idling, and reduces pollution. The Operations pages contain more information on these strategies.

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