Commissioners from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach held a joint meeting on November 17 to unveil the discussion document regarding updates to the Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP).


“These updates will move the region closer to a zero-emissions future,” Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said in a prepared statement. “We have already proven that it’s possible to increase jobs and trade with cleaner air and healthier communities. And I want to thank all of our partners who helped make this possible.”


Originally published in November 2006, the CAAP was a joint effort between both ports to develop strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. According to a press release, to date the ports have invested $15 million in the Technology Advancement Program, which was created to “accelerate the development and demonstration of cutting-edge emission reduction technology.”


Under the CAAP, the ports have reduced diesel particulate matter by up to 85%, cut mono-nitrogen oxides by 50%, eliminated 97% of sulfur oxides and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 12%. Commissioners hope the updated plan will increase those numbers.


“There is still a lot of work to do, and getting across the finish line will not be easy or inexpensive,” Ambassador Vilma Martinez, president of the L.A. Harbor Commission, said. “Partnerships and cooperation among all stakeholders will be critical to success, as will be financial participation from both the public and private sectors.”


The joint meeting marked the beginning of a three-month public review and comment period that will end on February 17, 2017. The ports will incorporate public comments into the document and present the 2017 CAAP Update for final consideration at another joint harbor commission meeting in spring of next year.


Some of the near- and long-term goals included increasing the number of clean or zero-emissions vehicles and equipment, increasing on-dock rail cargo movement to 50% of all inbound cargo, developing charging standards for electric cargo-handling equipment, increasing efficiency, as well as increasing overall energy conservation, resiliency and management strategies.


“The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are driving forces of our region’s economy – they should also be models for how we move toward a more sustainable future by balancing growth and environmental stewardship,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a press release. “The draft Clean Air Action Plan is an important step in our work to reduce air pollution in our communities and take action on climate change. I look forward to working with Mayor Garcia to build on this progress and continue strengthening this plan in the coming months.”


During the joint meeting, Thomas Jelenic, vice president of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association (PMSA), noted the “incredible” environmental accomplishments achieved by both ports as a result of the CAAP. However, he thinks it may also be having a negative impact on port growth. Jelenic said that between 1996 and 2006, volume through the San Pedro Bay Port Complex increased 176%, but from 2006 to 2015 there was a 2.6% decrease.


“Only through growth and re-capturing market share will there be the resources necessary to make the investments envisioned by the CAAP,” Jelenic said. “For this reason alone, the ports must increase their competitiveness.”


Jelenic requested that the commissions analyze the update’s impact on port competitiveness and develop an action plan that will boost the competitiveness of the ports, not hinder growth.


The discussion document can be viewed at, and According to a press release, each port will hold additional community meetings during the three-month period to gather public comments. Written comments may be submitted to

Brandon Richardson is a reporter and photojournalist for the Long Beach Post and Long Beach Business Journal.