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Challenges of port sustainability — Net-Zero Carbon

Pollution from idling vehicles should not be overlooked, show host says

FreightWaves' Michael Vincent and Kaylee Nix speaking with Net-Zero Carbon Analyst Tyler Cole. (Photo: FreightWaves)

Tyler Cole touted the benefits of pushing U.S. ports to adopt sustainable practices during Tuesday’s Net-Zero Carbon segment on FreightWaves Now. 

“Ports are a huge piece of our economy, the lynchpin of most goods coming in,” Cole, the host of Net-Zero Carbon on FreightWavesTV, said.

Cole pointed to the environmental stress ports put on the public health of local communities.

“How do we get these higher-priced, newer technology in the hands of cash-strapped operators so that we can relieve the environmental burden on these communities? Ports are the first place where that’s happening,” he said.

Across the country, local and state governments are finding ways to decrease their respective communities’ carbon footprints.

“You look along the West Coast — California, Oregon, Washington — you see big state and local incentives to try and get dirty trucks off the road and replace them with new zero-emission vehicles,” Cole said. “We’ve seen a few of those grants go to put zero-emission vehicles on the road, everything from forklifts and gantry cranes, going into container yards and seeing a lot of that container-handling equipment go zero-emission. And even just some general prep for how we’re going to electrify in the future, we kind of have to do that inglorious work of prepping the ground so we can get the right amount of charging infrastructure put in.”

At certain ports, masses of vehicles idling in queue adds a considerable amount of pollution to the local area and, according to Cole, should not be underestimated.

“In general, I think idling is a much smaller burn than when we’re going up and down the road,” he said. “It’s something that we can’t overlook, and just because it’s a smaller piece of the bigger pie, we shouldn’t minimize it. I think it’s just as important to try and quantify what are the health impacts of everyone sitting in that community where that’s being idled.”

Cole noted that climate issues may be on ballots across the country Tuesday. 

“If there’s climate on the bills where people are going to the polls, a lot of that is going to be decided by who’s in office and controlling the purse strings of a lot of these programs that are trying to improve local communities and taking the long view.”

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Jeremy Kariuki

Based in Georgia, Jeremy is a reporter for FreightWaves. He attained his bachelor's in journalism and emerging media from Kennesaw State University. He also served in the Georgia Air National Guard as a C-130 Crew Chief for six years, holding an associate's in aircraft maintenance technology.