The Port of New York and New Jersey is the largest port on the East Coast of North America and the third-largest in the nation. While maritime-related port activities are critical to the regional economy, diesel emissions from ocean-going vessels, harbor craft, cargo-handling equipment, trucks, rail locomotives are harmful to human health, and greenhouse gas emissions associated with goods movement contribute to climate change.

In 2009, the Port Authority and its partners developed a Clean Air Strategy and committed to reduce criteria air pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions even as cargo volume increases. This website serves as a hub for information about Clean Air Strategy initiatives, emission reduction progress, and related data on real-time air quality and community health in the port area.

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National Port News and Trends

Port of Los Angeles Plans Fees to Encourage Clearing Empty Containers

December 31,2021 –

In the latest effort to clear some of the congestion at the container terminals, the Port of Los Angeles said it plans to begin charging a fee to ocean carriers that allow empty containers to linger for nine days or longer. This latest effort comes as the port has delayed for two months its fee on long dwell import containers, with port officials now complaining that the empties are the primary offender taking up space in the port and its off-site storage yards.


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Port of Long Beach getting $52.3 million in federal funding for Pier B on-dock rail facility development

December 23,2021 —

A centerpiece on-dock rail facility at the Port of Long Beach will receive $52.3 million in infrastructure grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The Pier B on-dock rail facility is designed to speed up cargo movements and reduce pollution. The announcement came on Thursday, Dec. 23, from U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. No Port of Los Angeles projects were included but additional rounds of funding will be announced later. “This is great news to hear at the end of what will be our busiest year,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero.


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LA Port Sees Record 2021 Imports Despite Supply Chain Snags

December 15,2021 —

The Port of Los Angeles — the nation’s busiest — is on track to move a record volume of import cargo this year, even as officials struggle to thin a backup of ship traffic and ease supply chain snarls that have been blamed for product shortages and higher shelf prices. “The sustained and unmatched demand by the American consumer is pushing our import numbers to new levels,” Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, told reporters in an online briefing. “We’re on track for an all-time import record in … 2021.”


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Progress to Clean Air


Jobs generated by Port operations


Billion in annual wages


Billion in federal, state, and local tax revenue

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Emission Reduction Progress

Emissions from the Port have continued to decline since 2006 despite increases in cargo volume.

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Real-Time Air Quality

Check here for updates on current air quality from monitors adjacent to the Port area.

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Community Health

Use CDC's Info by Location Tool to find information about environmental health issues for your area.

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Sector Implementation

Clean Air Strategy actions are voluntary and implementation of the Strategy by The Port Authority and its Partners is ongoing.

Ocean-Going Vessels

Ocean-going vessels include container ships, bulk carriers, auto carriers, passenger cruise ships, tankers, and roll-on/roll-off vessels.

Screenshot of a fact sheet on reducing emissions from ocean-going vessels.
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container ship and tug boat

Vessel traffic is one of the largest sources of air pollution at the Port of New York and New Jersey. Significant progress has been made to reduce emissions from vessels calling on the port. Most notably, the establishment of the North American Emissions Control Area (ECA) in 2012 resulted in a near 99% reduction in sulfur dioxide emissions by mandating the use of 1% sulfur content fuel within 200 miles of the coastline. In addition to the ECA, a number of voluntary initiatives have motivated shipping lines to retrofit ships for cleaner and more efficient operations, and to lower vessels speeds within the port area.

Incentives for Cleaner Vessel Traffic

Clean Vessel Incentive Program logoThe Clean Vessel Incentive Program offers financial incentives for reducing vessel speed when approaching the Port and awards additional points for vessels that exceed current international vessel standards through the Environmental Ship Index (ESI). The ESI evaluates the amount of nitrogen oxide (NOx) and sulphur oxide (SOx) that is emitted by a ship, and includes a reporting scheme on the greenhouse gas emission of the ship. In 2017, CVI-participating vessels made 1,455 calls at the Port of NY and NJ.

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Shore Power at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal

Brooklyn bridge with manhattan in the backgroundIn 2016, Brooklyn Cruise Terminal became the first shore power-capable terminal on the East Coast. The terminal, which receives 40 cruise calls per year from the Caribbean Princess, Queen Mary 2, and the Emerald Princess, now allows ships to plug into the city’s power grid while at berth. Shore power prevents the release of shoreside emissions from diesel fuel and will improve air quality for local residents by eliminating an anticipated 1,500 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, 95 tons of NOx, and 6.5 tons of particulate matter each year.[1] The Port Authority estimated the annual health benefits from the switch from on-board generation to shore power at $9 million per year for Kings County.[2] The system cost $19.3 million to install, funding by $12.1 million from the Port Authority, $2.9 million in EPA grant funding, and $4.3 million from the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYC EDC). New York City Economic Development Corporation operates and maintains the system.

“Brooklyn’s Red Hook terminal is the first port on the East Coast using this cutting edge green-power technology. This project will keep our working waterfront working and give our guests the chance to feel the power of Brooklyn – literally.”

– Former Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz at project launch.[3]


  1. NYCruise Planning & Development
  2. Public Comment by The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (2010, Jan 29).
  3. NYC Office of Mayor (2011, April 13). “Mayor Bloomberg, Port Authority, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, New York Power Authority, Princess Cruises And Cunard Line Announce Partnership To Introduce Shore Power At Brooklyn Cruise Terminal.”

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Heavy-duty diesel vehicles, or trucks, include container drayage trucks that move cargo on and off of the Port. The majority of trucks serving the Port of New York and New Jersey make short trips between Port Terminals and warehouses around the region. These vehicles are called “short-haul” trucks.

Screenshot of a fact sheet on port drayage truck emission reduction strategies.
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Tugboat and freight ship

Trucks represent a significant source of port emissions and are also the sector of greatest concern to near-port communities. Fine particulate matter in diesel exhaust emitted by truck traffic is associated with adverse health effects, including respiratory hospitalizations, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and premature death. Newer trucks have cleaner engines that reduce the amount of fine particulate matter and nitrogen oxides released into the air. These newer vehicles are also more fuel efficient, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions. To reduce emissions from the truck sector, the Port of New York and New Jersey has focused on shifting the engine model year distribution of trucks serving the port to newer, cleaner vehicles, and reducing the number of vehicle miles traveled to move port cargo.

Funding Replacement to Newer, Cleaner Trucks

The Port Authority's Truck Replacement Program Logo

Older trucks emit higher levels of criteria air pollutants than newer vehicles that have better emissions control technologies. For example, a truck with an engine model year 2010 engine reduces fine particulate matter and NOx emissions by up to 90% compared to pre-2007 model years. There are several programs for port drayage truck drivers in the New York/New Jersey area to receive funding to purchase a new vehicle. The Port Authority’s Truck Replacement Program has provided grant support to drivers to replace over 700 vehicles to newer engine models. New York State’s Truck Voucher Incentive Program provides incentives for the purchase of all-electric, hybrid, or compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles, as well as for diesel emission control technology, for trucks serving New York and New York City. The Hunts Point Clean Truck Program, initiated by the New York City Department of Transportation, has replaced, retrofitted or scrapped over 600 older heavy polluting diesel trucks from the South Bronx and NYC through rebate incentives to truck owners that serve Hunts Point or Port Morris at least two times per week.

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Phasing Out Older Vehicles

Picture of four trucks in a line looking at the front of the truck cabsThe Port of New York and New Jersey is phasing out the oldest trucks serving the port. These trucks emit the highest levels of air pollution. The Port most recently denied access to trucks with engines 1994 and 1995 engines on January 1, 2018, after denying 1993 and older vehicles in 2011. In addition, since March of 2016, only trucks with engine model year 2007 or newer engines can register to serve the Port. Over time, these initiatives have resulted in a shift in the engine model year distribution of trucks serving the port to newer, cleaner, and safer vehicles.

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Moving More Cargo with Rail and Barge

Port Authority logo for the cross harbor freight programA key strategy to reduce emissions from the trucks serving the port, especially for greenhouse gas emission reduction, is to minimize vehicle miles traveled. For every container moved by rail or barge, the Port displaces the need for 1.5 truck trips. Between 2006 and 2015 the Port of NY and NJ’s ExpressRail system  lifted over 4 million containers onto rail cars and eliminated the need for over 6 million truck trips. For the same period the cross harbor barge service, which is part of the marine highway system, moved over 400,000 containers between Brooklyn and Port Newark and eliminated over 600,000 truck trips.

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Cargo-Handling Equipment

Cargo-handling equipment includes yard tractors, straddle carriers, forklifts, container handlers, gantry cranes, reach stackers, and auxillary equipment.

Screenshot of a fact sheet on cargo-handling equipment emission reduction strategies.
Download fact sheet.

cargo handling equipment at PNCTOffroad equipment used to move cargo at Port terminals is known as cargo-handling equipment or CHE. CHE is the third biggest contributor to maritime-related air emissions from the port, behind trucks and ocean-going vessels. The bulk of CHE emissions come from straddle carriers, even though straddle carriers only make up a quarter of the total equipment count.  Terminal tractors and rubber tired gantry cranes are the second and third largest emissions contributors, respectively. The main strategy to reduce emissions from CHE is to replace older equipment with newer, cleaner versions powered by clean diesel engines, alternative fuels, or electricity.

Modernizing CHE Fleets with Incentives

Header for the Port Authority's Cargo Handling Equipment Fleet Modernization Incentive ProgramThe Port Authority provides incentive funding to purchase new cargo-handling equipment for up to 20% of the purchase price, up to $20,000. The incentive applies to replacements to Tier 4 of alternative powered equipment (electric, hybrid, or LNG/CNG) for straddle carriers, yard tractors, rubber tire gantry cranes, or top loaders. It is funded through a $2 million federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) grant.

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Piloting the First All-Electric Straddle Carrier in the U.S.

The first all-electric straddle carrier in the United States is coming to the Port of New York and New Jersey by the end of 2019. Maher Terminals has agreed to pilot test the all-electric straddle carrier for a year on its container terminal at the Elizabeth Port Authority Marine Terminal to determine its operational and environmental benefits. The one-year pilot test will explore the level of greenhouse gas emissions that can be reduced by the all-electric straddle carrier. By not emitting any tailpipe gases, this single all-electric straddle carrier will reduce greenhouse gases from the equivalent of 52 fewer passenger vehicles.

“The electrification of cargo handling equipment is an essential component of our continued efforts to reduce emissions and our impact on air quality in and around the port district.” – Bethann Rooney, Deputy Director, Port Department

Read more in the press release.

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Zero Emissions Electric Truck Demonstration at Red Hook Container Terminal

A diesel yard truck at Red Hook Container Terminal in Brooklyn, NY was replaced with a zero-emissions, battery-electric Class 8 yard truck manufactured by BYD in a demonstration project in 2017. The BYD truck can operate on one charge for up to 10 hours.

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Harbor Craft

Harbor craft involved in Port marine operations include tugs, towboats, and pushboats. Actions in the Clean Air Strategy also cover harbor craft not under the aegis of the Port Authority, such as private tour vessels, public and private ferries, commercial vessels, and pleasure craft.

Screenshot of a fact sheet on harbor craft emission reduction strategies.
Download fact sheet.


Emissions for the harbor craft sector at the Port are measured from vessels that assist ocean-going vessels with maneuvering and docking (assist tugs), and vessels that move cargo barges within the New York and New Jersey harbor system (tugs, tow boats, and push boats). The majority of harbor craft serving the marine part have Tier 0 engines, meaning they are pre-regulation and emit high levels of criteria pollutants. Reducing emissions from the harbor craft sector involves repowering pre-regulation vessels with cleaner, lower emitting engines.

Seatreak Passenger Ferry Repower

Seastreak ferry at dock in New York/New Jersey Harbor

Photo courtesy of Michael Hicks via Flickr Creative Commons

In 2014, Seastreak worked with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to repower a Seastreak ferry to reduce emissions from ferry operation. The repower replaced four Tier 1 engines on the ferry with two Tier 3 engines. It also replaced four gearboxes with two propulsion gearboxes, and four jetdrive propulsion thrusters with two new thrusters properly sized to the new engines.

Total Project Cost: $3.472 million

Project Funding: NJ DEP received $1.382 million in US EPA Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) grant funding for the repower, and Seastreak provided $2.09 million as part of a mandatory cost share.

Emissions Impact: The new engines will reduce 5.78 tons of PM2.5, 132 tons of NOx, and 821 tons of CO2 annually. As a result of the repower, the ferry experiences quieter operation, a 30% reduction in fuel costs, and increased seating capacity.

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New Jersey Clean Cities Coalition Repowers Harbor Craft

Logo consisting of text over a city skyline on top of the state of New Jersey

New Jersey Clean Cities Coalition received a series of US EPA Diesel Emission Reduction Program (DERA) grants to repower seventeen marine vessels with Tier 2 and Tier 3 engines. Replacing engines nearly 30 years old, the new engines resulted in annual reductions of 420 tons of NOx, 2 tons of PM2.5, and 100,000 gallons of diesel fuel. NJ Clean Cities Coalition received over $2 million in DERA grant funding to assist vessel operators with the replacements.

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Locomotive activity at the Port includes both line haul and switching rail activity.

Screenshot of a fact sheet on rail locomotive emission reduction strategies.
Download fact sheet.

Genset locomotive at the Port of New York and New JerseyLine haul locomotives move cargo in and out of Port marine terminals to locations outside of Port facilities. Emissions for line haul locomotives are only measured for the length of the trip within the New York New Jersey Long Island Non-Attainment Area (NYNJLINA). Switching locomotives move rail cars on the terminal or on and off the Cross Harbor Barge System, which runs between Greenville Yard in Jersey City and 65th Yard in Brooklyn. Compared to other sectors, the rail sector is not a major contributor of maritime-related emissions at the port, and moving more cargo with rail as an alternative to trucks is one strategy to reduce emissions from marine port activities. Replacing large engines on switcher locomotives with two or three generator sets (known as genset locomotives) is a strategy to reduce rail sector emissions. Genset locomotives emit lower levels of most pollutants compared to typical switcher locomotives.

2016 CSX Transportation Locomotive Conversion

CSX Transportation, Inc. (CSX)  transports goods of all kind through the New York and New Jersey area from food products to cars to construction waste. The company operates over 1,000 miles of track. In collaboration with New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) and the Port Authority (PANYNJ), CSX converted an older locomotive to a newer, low-emission locomotive that meets U.S. EPA Tier 3 line haul and Tier 2 switcher locomotive emissions standards. The project took thirteen months to complete from late 2015 through December 2016. It involved dismantling the existing locomotive to install a lower emitting Tier 3 engine.

  • Total Project Cost: $1.95 million
  • Project Funding: NJ DOT provided $900,000 in funding from the Federal Highway Administration’s Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) program, matched by $300,000 from the PANYNJ and $747,000 from CSX.
  • Emissions Impact: Over the lifespan of 10 years estimated for a Tier 3 engine, the conversion has potential to reduce 59.7 tons of NOx and 4.3 tons of PM. The new engine will also save 4,000 gallons of fuel annually.

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2009 Multi-Engine Genset Conversion

In 2009, CSX repowered an older switchyard locomotive from a single-engine to a multi-engine Genset power system, an ultra-low emitting technology. North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA), NJ DOT, and the Port Authority partnered with CSX on the project.

  • Total Project Cost: $1.48 million
  • Project Funding: The project received 60% of its funding from CMAQ, 20% from the Port Authority, and 20% from CSX
  • Emissions Impact: The engine repower has the potential to reduce NOx by 16.5 tons, PM by 0.42 tons, and CO2 by 170 tons annually. In addition to emission benefits, the genset locomotive can reduce  idle time and save 15,000 gallons of fuel annually.

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0 Calls Made by CVI Vessels in 2017

0 Trucks Replaced with EMY 2007 or Newer

0 Truck Trips Replaced by ExpressRail

0 Pieces of Cargo-Handling Equipment Replaced

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About the Clean Air Strategy

The Strategy outlines voluntary actions to reduce emissions from maritime-related activities at the Port of New York and New Jersey. It was developed and continues to be implemented by a multi-agency Strategy Group with input from industry, environmental and community stakeholders, and the public.

Strategy Scope

The scope of the Strategy includes Brooklyn Port Authority Marine Terminal, Howland Hook Marine Terminal, Port Newark, Port Jersey Marine Terminal, and Elizabeth Port Authority Marine Terminals. The scope does not include emissions tied to non-maritime Port Authority facilities such as airports, bridges, tunnels, or maritime-related facilities not under the aegis of the Port Authority.

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Strategy Goals

The actions in the Clean Air Strategy are meant to address three primary emissions reduction objectives:

  • Human Health

    Reduce maritime related air quality impacts on human health and the environment from criteria air pollutants

  • Climate Change

    Reduce maritime-related contribution to greenhouse gas emissions associated with climate change

  • Contribution to Standards

    Contribute to the effort to bring the New York/Northern New Jersey/Long-Island Non-Attainment Area (NYNJLINA) into attainment for ozone and to maintain attainment of the fine particulate matter standard

Emission Reduction Goals Through 2020:

Achieve an

annual 3% average decrease of each criteria air pollutant

despite any port growth, equating to a 42% decrease from the 2006 baseline

Achieve an

annual 5% average decrease of greenhouse gas emissions

despite any port growth, equating to a 70% decrease from the 2006 baseline

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Strategy Partners

The Clean Air Strategy was developed via a commitment-based partnership with the following entities:

New York City Department of Transportation, New York City Economic Development Corporation, New York City Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, New York Metropolitan Transportation Council, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, New York Shipping Association, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority, The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, United States Environmental Protection Agency Region 2, cities of Bayonne, Elizabeth, and Newark in New Jersey.

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Ross Strategic

This site was developed by Ross Strategic under contract to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. For questions about the site’s development, contact us.

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