Hybrid cranes help Oakland’s war on pollution

Port of Oakland 13 diesel-powered yard cranes will be converted to hybrid power at the Port of Oakland. Credit: Port of Oakland
Industry Database

The Port of Oakland’s largest container terminal is converting 13 diesel-powered yard cranes to hybrid power with the aim of cutting 45t of diesel-related air pollutants annually.

Each 50t lift capacity Rubber Tired Gantry (RTG) crane is being equipped with batteries and new, smaller diesel backup engines. The port said the first hybrid crane began service on 5 March at Oakland International Container Terminal.  It added that the rest of the terminal’s retrofitted fleet will be operational by next year.

“This is the Prius of cargo-handling equipment,” explained Port of Oakland environmental planner Catherine Mukai.  “We’re gratified that our partners at the terminal are taking this step to help clear the air.”

In July 2018, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District awarded the terminal operator, SSA Terminals, a US$5m grant for the hybrid project through its Community Health Protection Grant Program. SSA Terminals is spending about US$1m more to retrofit its cranes.  According to the port, the terminal operator could recoup its cost within two years, thanks to fuel savings.

“We depend heavily on this equipment to keep cargo flowing smoothly,” said Jim Rice, general manager at Oakland International Container Terminal.  “We’re pleased to find a solution that makes us more efficient and at the same time benefits the environment.”

The port has a long term strategy to drive down emissions. In January, the Port of Oakland announced that 75% of all ships visiting the Port of Oakland in 2018 used shore power to help reduce emissions, while in November, Impact Transportation become the second trucking company at the Port of Oakland to invest in zero emissions equipment.

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