California, Japan Commit to Port Decarbonization

Date: Wednesday, March 29, 2023
Source: Sourcing Journal

Government leaders in California and Japan are working to curb port emissions and pollution and establish green shipping corridors across the Pacific Ocean. The Port of Los Angeles jumped at the chance to facilitate emissions-conscious ocean trade.

Several members of California Governor Gavin Newsom’s administration, as well as officials from Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, met in Tokyo on March 14, where both sides signed a letter of intent to collaborate on strategies that support port decarbonization and green shipping corridor development.

During the 2023 Japan Clean Energy Trade Mission held March 11-18, The Port of Los Angeles formalized a commitment with the Ports of Tokyo and Yokohama to establish their own green shipping corridors in the coming year.

Green shipping corridors are shipping routes that are established for zero-emissions ships and the deployment of emissions reduction programs. Within these routes, emissions reductions are measured and enabled through public and private actions and policies.

The corridors have been a hot topic in the maritime industry and the U.S. Department of State as the parties aim for zero greenhouse gas emissions in international shipping by 2050, in line with the Paris Agreement.

The Port of Los Angeles has already established similar partnerships with the Ports of Shanghai and Singapore. In its two new agreements, all three ports will cooperate on testing and deployment of zero-emission vehicles, cargo-handling equipment and vessels; explore energy use and alternative energy sources; and cooperate on initiatives related to pollution-reduction technologies for terminals, ocean-going vessels and drayage trucks.

“The ports of California and Japan help power the global economy and will now help power a new era of clean energy, clean transportation and good-paying green jobs,” Newsom said in a statement. “California is a global climate and economic leader, and I’m thankful to the Japanese government for collaborating with us to help accelerate efforts to aggressively combat climate change on both sides of the Pacific and recognizing that we need to get things done now because later is too late.”

For the wider partnership between California and Japan, which formally began last March, the letter of intent is aimed at enhancing trade and climate action between the world’s third- and fourth-largest economies.

“Today’s historic collaboration further strengthens California’s strong economic and trade partnership with Japan and takes meaningful action on our shared commitment to tackling climate change,” said California Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis. “Our pan-Pacific partnership is a global model for climate action and a critical step towards achieving zero greenhouse gas emissions.”

All executive directors of the state’s three largest ports attended the weeklong event, including the Port of L.A.’s Gene Seroka, the Port of Long Beach’s Mario Cordero and the Port of Oakland’s Danny Wan.

“Global cooperation is critical if we are to make meaningful progress toward a cleaner and more sustainable maritime industry,” said Seroka in a statement. “The Port of Los Angeles is proud of the role it has played in advancing port-related environmental technologies and supply chain decarbonization solutions, but we can do so much more with ports and other international stakeholders working together. I’m thrilled to be in Japan collaborating with our long-time partners at the ports of Tokyo and Yokohama.”

As noted in the letter, the California State Transportation Agency will support the green shipping and port decarbonization initiatives, as well as the deployment of zero-emission transportation through the state’s $1.2 billion Port and Freight Infrastructure Program.

The Japanese ministry, along with the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), the California Air Resources Board and the California Energy Commission, will share expertise and best practices on critical efforts to cut port-related pollution, including strategies for offshore wind development and zero-emission fuels and infrastructure.

The Port of Oakland, which already is integrating power sources like solar generation and all-electric trucks and cargo-handling equipment as part of a $2 million renewable energy infrastructure project, now may be taking inspiration from Japan’s use of hydrogen technology.

“More than 100 projects are looking at zero emissions in maritime shipping worldwide,” said Wan in a statement. “Nearly half of these initiatives focus on hydrogen as a low-carbon fuel source.”

On the weeklong trip, Wan and reps from the port visited the Port of Kobe hydrogen terminal and the Fujimi Waste-to-Energy Plant.

“We enjoyed the exchange of information, technology and best practices that will complement our efforts to create a zero-emissions port in Oakland,” said Wan.

Japan is the top destination for cargo departing from the Oakland seaport, accounting for 17 percent of the hub’s exports.

Beyond its ports, California has made it a point to aggressively combat climate change, with the state entering partnerships with Canada and New Zealand in 2022 and expanding an existing partnership with China.

In 2020, Newsom signed an executive order setting a goal for California to reach 100 percent zero-emission drayage truck operation by 2035. The state is also making investments in offshore wind energy and zero-emission vehicles and infrastructure, with the intent to reach net-zero carbon pollution no later than 2045 and deliver 90 percent clean energy by 2035.


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