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Port of Oakland seeks federal grant for zero-emissions transformation

The Port of Oakland, in collaboration with a coalition of 20 partners, has submitted an application for a federal grant aimed at expediting the Oakland Seaport’s transition to 100% zero-emissions cargo handling operations.

They are seeking a US$417 million grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Ports Program under the Zero-Emission Technology Deployment Competition.

Their groundbreaking and transformative proposal, titled “Community Led, Business Supported, Proven and Ready to Go! Transforming the Port of Oakland to Zero Emissions,” aims to significantly advance both industry and community goals in transitioning to zero-emissions operations. This initiative is designed to strengthen long-standing relationships and achieve shared environmental and operational objectives.

"We thank our clean energy partners for a community-driven, historic and transformative grant application which will help us achieve our clean air goals faster. Our local Oakland community helped select key project components such as zero-emissions container handling equipment, cleaner drayage trucks and comprehensive air quality monitoring to achieve the Port’s zero emissions goals," stated Danny Wan, executive director at Port of Oakland.

The US Port is collaborating closely with 20 community-based organizations, workforce development groups, marine terminals, Port users, and industry leaders on this proposal. The initiative aims to support emissions reductions and climate adaptation efforts, benefiting the industry-impacted communities in East and West Oakland. Additionally, it will advance a community-approved and air district-supported air-monitoring system to measure the effectiveness and outcomes of the project.

“This project would be truly transformative for the communities living in West and East Oakland. I applaud the coalition of partners for putting forward this application to transition nearly 100% of all the cargo handling equipment at the Port to zero emissions technology. The EPA has an opportunity to be a major transformational force in the lives of residents in Oakland and in the maritime industry as a whole," added Barbara Lee (D-Calif), Congresswoman.

The Port proposes a project with a cost of up to US$586 million, which includes replacing approximately 762 pieces of equipment with zero-emissions (ZE) alternatives, such as battery electric or hydrogen fuel cell options. The equipment to be replaced includes:

  • 482 drayage trucks
  • 179-yard tractors
  • 61 forklifts
  • 33 front-end loaders
  • 5 reach stackers
  • 1 rail car mover
  • 253 charging stations

A key aspect of the proposal is partnering with three local workforce development organizations to support green skills training and educate drivers on operating and maintaining the latest zero-emissions equipment, vehicles, and infrastructure.

Additionally, the project features a Truck Loaner Program, which will provide zero-emissions trucks to independent owner-operators and fleets operating in disadvantaged communities at little to no cost to the truckers.

“We hope the EPA considers this grant; we’ve been fighting for clean air for decades,” said Brian Beveridge, Co-Executive Director of the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project. “We’re glad to see everyone coming together on this much-needed historic and far-reaching proposal to address environmental issues in my community.”

The Port's emissions reduction plan, titled "Seaport Air Quality 2020 and Beyond Plan - The Pathway to Zero Emissions," is based on the foundation laid by the Port’s Maritime Air Quality Improvement Program. This plan outlines long-term strategies for improving air quality and meeting California’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets, developed with extensive input from the community and partners.

The federal Inflation Reduction Act, passed in 2022, has allocated US$3 billion through the Biden-Harris Administration to support the funding of zero-emissions port equipment and infrastructure, as well as climate and air quality planning at U.S. ports.

“This project will accelerate the Port’s transition to zero emissions which has a citywide impact. We are pleased to be part of this clean energy coalition that will not only benefit environmental justice concerns in my East Oakland community but will also have similar impacts on residents all over the region," commented Carolyn Johnson, executive director of Black Cultural Zone.

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