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Port Pollution Addressed Through Innovation

Ports are a major source of pollution, not only from the ships entering and leaving the harbor, but also from the numerous vehicles that service the port and handle the cargo coming in and going out. The latest ship designs can handle over ten thousand containers and that will often translate into an equal number of trucks needed to haul all of the containers away. Moving some of that load onto rail cars is but one of the many ways that port managers are employing to cut down on air pollution. The need for such reductions is becoming ever more apparent. Until now, few ports were obliged to meet air quality standards, but that has begun to change, spurring new efforts to cut back on the emissions spewing from these vital transit centers. Southern California is notorious for its smog and has waged a long and costly battle against it. The Los Angeles – Long Beach port complex is the largest single source of air pollution in the region and is now a target for reductions. The amount of cargo handled by this port complex has tripled in the last decade with a corresponding increase in emissions. Higher standards for… read more »

Ocean Shipping in the Twenty-First Century, a Growing Concern

Ocean shipping in the 21st century is able to move record-breaking amounts of cargo with increasing speed and efficiency. Cargo vessels have been built to accommodate ever-increasing numbers of containers, and bulk carriers are growing in size as well. While the size of tankers for oil and other petroleum products appears to have peaked, that peak is at a very large level. The restraints on capacity for bulk carriers are not mainly a matter of difficulty in design and construction for a larger fleet, but more a matter of where such vessels can operate. For instance, bulk carriers for grain are built to be able to navigate the locks of the St. Lawrence Seaway since so many of these of ships use this route to move grain from the interior of North America out into international waters. Smaller ships must be used on other inland waterways, which is why all the really large ships are used mainly for ocean transit. The Panama Canal also exerts a size limitation on ships. That country is currently working on a multi-billion dollar, multi-year expansion of the locks and channels in the system in order to allow such large ships to pass through. Currently,… read more »