Port of San Diego Revolutionizes Maritime Clean Air Strategy

The Port of San Diego has approved a policy document that aims to balance community health improvements through cleaner air while also supporting efficient and modern maritime businesses and jobs.

SAN DIEGO— The Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners has accepted a policy document to help the Port establish future projects and initiatives to improve health through a cleaner air strategy. This policy will benefit all who live, work, and play on and around San Diego Bay while supporting efficient and modern maritime operations. The Maritime Clean Air Strategy (MCAS) will uphold its mission of “Health Equity for All” and is an example of  the Port’s commitment to environmental justice. Nearly all the MCAS goals and objectives that are surpassing what is currently required by California.


The Board of Port Commissions initiated the development of the MCAS in June 2019. As an update to the Port’s 2007 Clean Air Program, the Port began developing the goals and objectives of the MCAS in March 2020 in close consultation and collaboration with a broad range of stakeholders – community residents, industry, businesses, public agencies, and non-government organizations. The Port of San Diego is not required to have a Maritime Clean Air Strategy, and has developed this document to demonstrate their commitment to clean, modern, and sustainable maritime and goods movement operations, said Gabriella Rodriguez, public relations representative at the Port of San Diego.


The MCAS highlights an objective centered on health equity, with high anticipation for their 2030 goals. These goals will contribute to improved air quality as an update to the Port’s 2007 Clean Air Program. In support of the 2030 goals, the MCAS establishes more specific, near-term emissions reduction goals and objectives to be accomplished within the next five-year period between 2021 and June 30, 2026. In addition, the MCAS identifies approximately 34 potential projects, partnerships, initiatives, and studies in conjunction with the near-term goals and objectives.


The components of the MACS goals that surpass the state’s requirements include a goal of 100 percent of cargo trucks calling on the Port of San Diego cargo maritime terminals being zero-emission vehicles by 2030. This goal will exceed State requirements by five years, and in some cases, even more. Port staff are in the process of putting together a truck transition plan which will be presented at the next board meeting on Nov. 9, according to Rodriguez.


In addition, an interim goal of 40 percent of the Port’s annual cargo truck trips will be performed by zero-emission trucks by June 30, 2026; a goal of 100 percent of cargo handling equipment being zero-emission by 2030; to facilitate implementation of the first all-electric tugboat in the United States by June 30, 2026, and to contribute Port Maritime Industrial Impact Fund dollars for the San Diego Air Pollution Control District’s (SDAPCD) purchase and installation of new portable air filtration devices at participating Portside Community residences.



“Our Portside Community neighbors, as well as our Working Waterfront and our visitors, deserve to breathe clean air,” said Chairman Michael Zucchet, Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners, in a press release sent out by the Port on Oct. 14. The Maritime Clean Air Strategy clearly lays out what our goals, aspirations, and expectations are for ourselves and for the people who do and want to do business with the Port of San Diego.”



“The MCAS positions us and our tenants to attract grants and investment from the State for clean air equipment and electrified heavy-duty trucks,” said Zucchet. “The Port of San Diego has already proven to be a leader in this area with shore power and other clean air equipment and infrastructure, and the MCAS is our roadmap as to how we can finish that job in the coming years.’


A generous amount of community and stakeholder involvement has become the foundation of the MCAS, according to a press release put out by the Port of San Diego. The Port began developing the goals and objectives of the MCAS in March 2020. As a result, the Port was in close communication and collaboration with many stakeholders, including community residents, industry, businesses, public agencies, and non-government organizations.


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