Oakland’s largest marine terminal operator plans to clear the air using hybrid cargo-handling technology. SSA Terminals said today it will retrofit 13 diesel-powered cranes with diesel-electric hybrid engines.
The upgrade is estimated to eliminate more than 45 tons of exhaust emissions annually at the Port of Oakland.
The projected cost to upgrade the cargo-handlers, known as Rubber Tired Gantry Cranes, is more than $6 million. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District this month approved a $5.1 million Community Health Protection Grant Program / Carl Moyer Program allocation for the project. The cranes will continue to operate at SSA’s Oakland International Container Terminal
in the Port.
“We’re delighted that SSA is taking a lead role in curbing emissions,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll. “And we’re grateful that their initiative has the support of the Air District.”
SSA’s hybrid cranes will operate primarily on electricity with
diesel used only for battery charging. The cranes will also regenerate battery power while lowering containers, which can weigh more than 30 tons.
The Port estimated that hybrid cranes would reduce emissions of some air pollutants by 99 percent. It projected that greenhouse gas emissions from
the cranes would fall by a minimum of 40 percent. As part of the grant SSA will also be evaluating the feasibility and promote the future deployment of zero-emission cargo-handling equipment.
The cranes are the workhorses of the Port. They traverse mile-long rows of containers, plucking import boxes from stacks, then loading them on trucks for delivery. SSA’s Oakland terminal, the nation’s second-busiest, handles the equivalent of 600,000 20-foot import containers annually. The terminal accounts for about 60 percent of the Port’s total cargo volume.
The Port estimated that it could take up to two years to fully outfit SSA’s terminal with hybrid cranes. The terminal operator must first finalize a contract with the Air District to put the plan in motion.