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 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 cleaner, low-emission energy sources.

The Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy sets out our goal of reducing port-related emissions by 2050, while our port-wide air emissions inventory and air quality monitoring initiatives help us measure our overall progress and guide the development of 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.

Taking action on climate change and air emissions

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.

Climate action and air quality focused initiatives: 

  • EcoAction Program: Incentivizing shipping companies to reduce their environmental footprint by offering discounted harbour dues for ships that take measures to reduce their emissions or other environmental impacts.
  • Shore power: Offering shore power facilities at our cruise and container terminals, a technology that allows ships to shut off their diesel-powered auxiliary engines when docked and connect to British Columbia’s low-emission hydroelectricity.
  • Clean Technology Initiative: Accelerating the trial and adoption of low and zero-carbon emission fuels and technologies through demonstrations and pilot projects.
  • Non-Road Diesel Emissions Program: Encouraging the retirement of older, higher-emission diesel equipment through a combination of fees and rebates.
  • Energy Action: Helping port tenants conserve energy and access BC Hydro financial incentives for doing so. Tenants who have taken these steps are eligible for our Blue Circle Awards.
  • Climate Smart: Providing practical training to Port of Vancouver tenants on how to conserve energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Truck Licensing System: Enforcing environmental requirements for container trucks that access the port that help to limit air emissions and reduce idling.

In addition to encouraging environmental best practices by our tenants and port users, we have also committed to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions from the port authority’s administrative operations by 40% by 2030, from a 2010 baseline, and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

Collaborating for a greener world

In addition to running a suite of climate action programs for the Port of Vancouver, we are participate in various international collaborations to accelerate the decarbonization of shipping and ports.  These collaborative initiatives include:

  • The International Association of Ports and Harbours (IAPH) – Climate and Energy Committee: As a member of the IAPH’s Climate and Energy Committee, we help provide input to the global maritime policymaking body, the International Maritime Organization, on sustainability best practices and the clean energy tranition.
  • World Ports Climate Action Program: We are an active participant in the World Ports Climate Action Program, a collaboration of 12 global ports working to accelerate the decarbonization of ports and shipping. Participating ports include Antwerp, Barcelona, Gothenburg, Hamburg, Le Havre, Long Beach, Los Angeles, New York, New Jersey, Rotterdam, Valencia, Vancouver, and Yokohama.
  • 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
  • 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.