Greenport Conference to look at How Maritime & Shipping Industries are Measuring Air Emissions

(Image Courtesy: Ghana Ports & Harbours Authority

Measuring air emissions in the maritime and shipping industries is just one topic that will be discussed at the first GreenPort Congress conference to be held in North America (, hosted by the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore and the Maryland Department of Transportation. The international conference, which will be held at the Baltimore Convention Center on May 16-18, 2018, brings together maritime professionals from around the world to discuss environmental initiatives and developments. After 12 years of being held around the world, this is the first time it is being held in North America.

“This is an important event for the maritime industry and a great opportunity to share the ongoing success of the Port of Baltimore with an international audience,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “We look forward to hosting Greenport Congress conference and welcoming those leading environmental efforts around the world to Maryland.”

The session on measuring air emissions will examine the environmental impacts of ships’ transits on air quality around ports and surrounding communities. It will also look at the universal use of automatic identification systems, monitoring ship emissions from space, and understanding the results of photochemical modeling that stimulates the changes of pollutant concentrations in the atmosphere and near shore emissions. The session will be moderated by George Aburn, director of air and radiation administration for the Maryland Department of the Environment.

Other conference sessions will focus on a variety of maritime environmental topics ranging from smart ports to land redevelopment to managing dredge materials to the future of commerce vessels in a rapidly changing industry.

The Port of Baltimore has been recognized for its environmental efforts for several years and was recently named a Green Supply Chain partner by Inbound Logistics magazine. The magazine specifically recognized the Port’s work with dray trucks. Under a Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) grant through the U.S. Department of the Environment, more than 170 older dray trucks that move cargo at the Port of Baltimore since 2012 have been replaced with newer and cleaner diesel dray trucks. These upgrades improve overall fuel efficiency and have helped to reduce harmful pollutants both at the Port itself and around nearby communities.

The DERA grant also funds exhaust system upgrades or replacements on up to 26 pieces of cargo-handling equipment, such as forklifts and yard tractors. Automatic stop-start, anti-idling devices are being installed on locomotives to move rail cars that come through the Port.

MDOT MPA has also shown a commitment to the environment over the years in other ways. As part of its Dredge Material Management Program, MDOT MPA uses sediment dredged from shipping channels leading to the Port of Baltimore to restore wetlands and eroding islands, including Maryland’s Poplar and Hart-Miller islands.

Poplar Island, in the mid-Chesapeake Bay off Talbot County, has been rebuilt to its original 1,150 acres using dredged material. It is today home to a variety of wildlife and waterfowl. Hart-Miller Island, in the upper Chesapeake Bay near the mouth of Back River in Baltimore County, has been rebuilt and is a popular recreation site for boaters. Poplar also is an important nesting ground for terrapins. Poplar Island, Hart-Miller Island, and the Swan Creek wetlands (near the Cox Creek dredged material placement site) offer critical habitat for migratory birds. Both Poplar and Hart-Miller are listed as important Bird Areas by the National Audubon Society.

At Masonville Cove, on the Patapsco River in Baltimore, the MDOT MPA cleaned and restored a shoreline in 2008 that was severely polluted by decades of industrial activity. It removed 27 abandoned vessels and over 61,000 tons of trash. Today, trails through the Masonville wetlands draw a steady flow of visitors who come to observe the many species of birds and waterfowl that gather there. The Masonville Cove Environmental Education Center that opened in 2009 and has about 2,000 students a year participate in its hands-on programs.

In 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service named Masonville Cove its first Urban Wildlife Refuge Partner. The MDOT MPA also works with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to restore the Chesapeake Bay’s native oysters. The MDOT MPA provided funding to lay crushed stone on top of the Patapsco’s riverbed last year between Fort Carroll and the Key Bridge outside Baltimore. This initiative was to allow the oysters to filter pollutants from the river and create food and habitat for other creatures.

(Source: American Journal of Transportation)

Sea News, March 8