The Port of Baltimore has been awarded a $1.8 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the Port’s Diesel Equipment Upgrade Program, which replaces older cargo-handling equipment and dray trucks with newer, cleaner and more efficient models.
The grant will help the Maryland Port Administration (MPA) further reduce emissions at the Port and in surrounding residential neighborhoods.
“Maryland’s Port of Baltimore has a robust environmental program, from reducing emissions to restoring Chesapeake Bay islands, while also serving as a tremendous catalyst for good jobs and economic growth,” said Gov. Larry Hogan.
The grant “gives Maryland’s Port of Baltimore an important tool in our ongoing efforts to be greener and to advance Maryland’s response to climate change,” said R. Earl Lewis, Jr., MDOT Deputy Secretary for Policy, Planning and Enterprise Services. Lewis also serves as Chair of Maryland’s Zero Emission Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Council. “Upgrading equipment and reducing emissions at the Port and in nearby communities is a win-win.”
The funds come from the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) and will assist replacement of several pieces of diesel-powered equipment that operate at the Port — including four yard trucks, six forklifts, one mobile welding unit and three heavy-duty dray trucks — with newer and more energy-efficient equipment. The new dray trucks will be the first electric-powered dray trucks to provide service at the Port.
“These funds are a big boost for clean air and climate progress and that’s great news for Baltimore communities and Maryland economies,” said Maryland Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles. “We thank EPA, MPA and all the partners of Maryland’s green port who are advancing the state’s climate and environmental justice goals by investing in our clean energy economy.”
Some of the EPA funding will go to shipping company Wallenius Wilhelmsen. “Wallenius Wilhelmsen is one of the leading companies in maritime shipping for incorporating environmental programs and initiatives into what we do,” said Mike Derby, a Senior VP at the company. “We look forward to using the funding allocated to us to further strengthen our strong environmental commitment.”
Since the Port’s Diesel Equipment Upgrade Program began in 2008, a total of 118 pieces of diesel cargo-handling equipment such as forklifts, top loaders, locomotives and tugs have been replaced or retrofitted with cleaner engines. These replacements and retrofits have prevented more than 5,100 tons of emissions.
Additionally, the Port’s Dray Truck Replacement Program, part of the Diesel Equipment Upgrade Program, was launched in 2012 and has replaced more than 275 trucks with cleaner, modern vehicles. Dray trucks move containerized cargo short distances to and from ports to distribution facilities and warehouses. The Port of Baltimore last received an EPA DERA grant in 2019.