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Port of Vancouver's Emissions Inventory by Colin Laughlan

By BCShippingNews 13 June 2016
Project includes several firsts; establishes Port of Vancouver as environmental leader

If ever there were a perfect example of the environmental maxim “Act Local, Think Global,” it would have to be the Emissions Inventory currently underway at the Port of Vancouver. The project includes several “firsts” which should establish the Port not only as an environmental leader in Canada but garner international kudos as well.

“The Port of Vancouver is always ahead of the curve. They’re environmentally friendly,” Howard Posluns, Chief, Advanced Technology, at Transport Canada’s Transportation Development Centre told BCSN. For Posluns and his colleagues at the national level, however, it means their own state-of-the-art instrument, the Port Emissions Inventory Tool (PEIT), is not quite up to speed for the Vancouver project. “They’re always going further, they’re more advanced than the PEIT,” said Posluns.

Photo above: C02e emissions in the Fraser Valley in 2010, among the port-related emissions being updated in the 2015 inventory. 

It’s the sort of remark that suggests a friendly rivalry, but it all adds up to a collective striving for excellence that advances Canada’s reputation for developing the tools needed to measure port-related emissions.

“We try to make the port inventory as good as possible so that other jurisdictions will use our data,” said Christine Rigby, Environmental Specialist, Air Emissions, for Vancouver Fraser Port Authority. For the project now underway, this entails a huge volume of data on port emissions for 2015 — the most comprehensive emissions data collection since the inventory began in 2005. It measures, for the first time, emissions from transportation modes on both the ocean and land sides, as well as all the cargo handling equipment and administrative facilities in between. Rigby will oversee the project which utilizes additional expertise from Bryan McEwen and his team at SCN-Lavalin Environment in Vancouver. “We’re working with them to refine the methodology, to provide feedback on what they’re proposing,” said Rigby, “but they’re developing the system to take in all the data — they’re writing the methodology report.”

This is where it all comes together — a kind of expanding feedback loop that starts in Vancouver, works its way up to the national level, and returns to the Port every five years. SNC-Lavalin is able to use part of Transport Canada’s PEIT in the Vancouver inventory — not all of it though because the Port of Vancouver is “always looking at how they can go one step further,” added Posluns. The detailed work involves scores of mathematical equations and revised emissions factors for new models of engines in marine vessels, trucks, rail locomotives, and other equipment contributing to port emissions. “So we go back to SNC-Lavalin, our prime contractor, and ask them to look at the equipment and gather updated emissions information to improve the model,” explained Posluns.

To read the full article from the June 2016 issue of BC Shipping News, please log in.