Port of Tacoma receives $1.5M for TOTE plug-ins

The Port of Tacoma has received nearly $1.5 million from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reduce diesel and greenhouse gas emissions by retrofitting ships and adding electrical plug-ins at the Totem Ocean Trailer Express, Inc. (TOTE) terminal.

TOTE, a private shipping company that serves the Alaska trade, already has spent almost $900,000 to retrofit two ships to accommodate shore power connections, which allow ships to turn off their engines at the terminal. TOTE also has committed to contributing another $283,000 to complete the project.

TOTE ships will become the first to plug in at Port of Tacoma berths.

The money is provided under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) of 2009 National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program. EPA Region 10, which includes Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, received more than 49 grant applications requesting more than $80 million to help fund clean diesel emissions projects. EPA said the Port’s TOTE project was chosen to both maximize economic impact and emissions reductions.

In addition to retrofitting two TOTE ships with certified ship-side technology, this project will install a shore-side connection system and power at the Port’s TOTE terminal.

This project supports the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy, adopted in early 2008 by the Port and its regional partners, the ports of Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., to meet jointly established short- and long-term clean air goals for ships, cargo-handling equipment, rail, trucks and harbor craft. More than half of the ships that call frequently at the Port already meet the 2010 clean-air goal for ships by using cleaner-burning distillate fuel at berth.

TOTE ships, which call twice a week in Tacoma, are expected to plug into the completed system by fall 2010. Known as “Orca-class” vessels, the ships feature state-of-the-art redundant propulsion and steering systems that exceed state and federal environmental regulations and have earned TOTE numerous awards in recognition of outstanding environmental achievement.