Climate action at the Port of Vancouver

As we work toward our vision to make the Port of Vancouver the world’s most sustainable port, we are constantly looking for innovative and scientifically sound ways to reduce and mitigate the impacts of trade on the environment. For us, this means leading and participating in air quality and climate action programs designed to help conserve energy, reduce air contaminant and greenhouse gas emissions, and promote alternative energy sources.

Our participation in the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy sets our direction and targets, and our port-wide air emissions inventory and air quality monitoring initiatives are the foundational programs we use to measure our overall progress and guide how we develop additional programs and incentives for the wider port community to engage in.

All of these efforts play an important role in helping to reduce the air contaminants and greenhouse gas emissions associated with ships, cargo handling equipment and trucks, allowing us to move goods through the Port of Vancouver while also managing our ecological footprint.

Leading the way with innovative programs

At the port authority, we see our role as the steward of the Port of Vancouver as an opportunity to empower the trade industry to put environmentally responsible practices into action. We do this through a suite of climate action programs for three important trade-related sectors at the port: shipping, tenant operations, and trucking. You can learn more about these programs below, and click through for more detail.

Programs for ships

  • EcoAction Program: Through this program, ships can receive discounts on their harbour dues by following voluntary best practices that reduce emissions and other environmental impacts. Shipping lines that invest in technologies and practices that meet or exceed regulatory requirements are eligible for our Blue Circle Awards.
  • Shore power: A technology that allows ships that are fitted with the necessary equipment to shut off their diesel-powered auxiliary engines when docked and connect to the electricity grid
  • Natural gas as a marine fuel: We are working to help support the transition to liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a marine fuel, including doing our part to help make LNG bunkering services available at the Port of Vancouver by 2022

Programs for tenant operations

  • Non-Road Diesel Emissions Program: This program allows us to work with port tenants to accelerate updates to their older, higher-emission diesel equipment through a combination of fees and rebates
  • Energy Action: In partnership with BC Hydro, this program helps port tenants advance energy conservation measures and access financial incentives for doing so. Tenants who have taken these steps are eligible for our Blue Circle Awards.

Programs for trucks

  • Clean Trucking Initiative: Container trucks that access the port must meet minimum environmental requirements related to engine age, emissions controls and idle reduction

Collaborating for a greener world

Beyond our own port authority-led climate action programs, we are also involved in international collaborations to reduce ship emissions, not just at the Port of Vancouver but around the world. These collaborative initiatives include:

  • International Collaboration on Ship Emission Reductions: We are leading a collaborative effort with other port authorities, government agencies and non-governmental organizations to make it easier to learn about and use green shipping incentive programs worldwide
  • World Ports Climate Action Program: A coalition of 11 port authorities around the world, taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the marine industry
  • Getting to Zero 2030 Coalition: We are one of 74 members of this coalition—a partnership between the Global Maritime Forum, the Friends of Ocean Action and the World Economic Forum—which calls for collaborative action to reduce shipping industry-related greenhouse gas emissions to zero by the year 2030