The Port of Los Angeles is crediting its Clean Truck Program for a large part of significant cuts in emissions at the port last year.

The just-released 2009 Inventory of Air Emissions associated with cargo handling operations at the Port of Los Angeles shows diesel particulate matter emissions dropped by 37 percent from 2008, nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions fell 28 percent, and sulfur oxide emissions were down by 36 percent. When comparing 2009 emissions to 2005 emissions, the reductions are even more dramatic: 52 percent for PM, 33 percent for NOx, and 56 percent for SOx.

The biggest emission declines in the 2009 calendar year can be attributed to the Clean Truck Program implemented in October 2008. Nationwide, truck sales slumped during 2009. Truck sales locally, however, increased significantly as local companies invested hundreds of millions of dollars in new trucks, the Port boasted.

"We are extremely pleased to see how effective the Clean Air Action Plan has been," said Port Executive Director Geraldine Knatz, Ph.D. "Even with recession-related cargo declines factored in, we saw very positive year over year emissions reductions in 2009. The results show that the investments the Port and its customers have made in cleaner operations are delivering a healthy pay-off."

The Clean Air Action Plan's goals for 2014 include cutting Port-related PM emissions by 72 percent, NOx emissions by 22 percent, and SOx emissions by 93 percent below 2005 levels. Further decreases are targeted by 2023. The CAAP goals are closely tied into the South Coast Air Quality Management District's plan to meet federal air quality standards.

"We're definitely on track to meet the Clean Air Action Plan's Bay-wide Standards - our long-term air quality goals," said Christopher Patton, the Port's acting assistant director of environmental management. "In fact, in five years we've come more than halfway towards our 10-year target for DPM and SOx emissions reductions, and we are striving to continue to exceed our target for NOx. As we continue to apply the CAAP's existing and new control measures, we expect the reduction trend to continue in 2010."

The emissions inventory, which has been conducted annually since 2005, uses actual records of activity by cargo handling equipment (ships, trucks, trains, cranes, and other yard equipment); data on the types and ages of the equipment; and up-to-date information on emissions factors for the various engines to calculate the actual amount of emissions produced by port activities over the year. You can read the entire report here.