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Maritime Clean Air Strategy

The Port is committed to being a good neighbor and wants clean air for everyone who lives, works and plays on and around San Diego Bay. 

San Diego Bay Fisheye aerial view

Community Conversation

Thank you for joining us Wednesday, April 7 for our Community Conversation
about the Port of San Diego's proposed Maritime Clean Air Strategy.

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April 7 Community Conversation Q&A


Comments Received on the MCAS Discussion Draft as of 4/21/2021

As an environmental champion, the Port of San Diego has been investing in and deploying new technologies to improve overall air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the region in support of collective thrivability for our communities, environment, and regional economy. The Port is positioned to be an innovative leader and good neighbor, advancing the next level of clean air investments to benefit everyone who lives, works and plays on and around San Diego Bay.

The Port is now developing a Maritime Clean Air Strategy (MCAS) as part of continued efforts to identify projects that will improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions while continuing to transition to more efficient, modern, and sustainable maritime operations.


Comments Received on the MCAS Discussion Draft as of 4/21/2021

April 7 Community Conversation Q&A

As an update to the Port’s 2007 Clean Air Program, the MCAS identifies goals and objectives to reduce emissions associated with the following seven maritime-related sources: cargo handling equipment, commercial harbor craft, heavy duty trucks, the Port’s fleet, shipyards, ocean-going vessels, and freight rail. The MCAS will help the Port determine which efforts are feasible and how they should be prioritized and/or phased in over time. The MCAS is also intended to help clarify the role the Port may play in supporting our tenants and terminal operators with transitioning to zero and near-zero emission technologies.

Aerial photo of downtown San Diego looking south over the bay


Extensive community and stakeholder involvement is the cornerstone of the MCAS. Collaboration with community residents, industry, businesses, public agencies, and non-government organizations helped produce the goals and objectives identified in the MCAS Discussion Draft. Now, the Port is seeking additional community and stakeholder feedback.

Port staff released a Discussion Draft of the MCAS for a four-week public review and feedback period from March 23 – April 20, 2021. Port staff is now reviewing the comments and anticipates returning to the Board of Port Commissioners in May 2021 to present and discuss the feedback received, and then receive Board feedback and direction on the Draft MCAS.

If you have questions, you can email


Comments Received on the MCAS Discussion Draft as of 4/21/2021

April 7 Community Conversation Q&A


The Maritime Clean Air Strategy is intended to serve as a guidance document that will assist the Port’s Board of Port Commissioners with identifying, prioritizing, and implementing emission reduction initiatives in a holistic and comprehensive manner. The MCAS supports emission reduction efforts that are being advanced as part of the Portside Environmental Justice Neighborhoods (Portside Community) Assembly Bill 617 Community Emission Reduction Plan (AB 617 CERP) by focusing on emissions that are associated with the maritime and goods movement industry.

The MCAS includes a high-level summary of how emission reduction initiatives can be funded and financed, and it identifies goals to help broaden emission reduction funding opportunities and to promote ongoing collaboration with stakeholders on emission reduction initiatives in an open, transparent and deliberative manner.

The MCAS is being developed pursuant to:

  • Assembly Bill 617 – Community Air Protection Program;
  • Direction provided by the Board of Port Commissioners in June 2019 to update the Port’s 2007 Clean Air Program; and
  • Extensive and robust public engagement.

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Aerial view of the San Diego Bay North looking west


Port staff will review feedback received on the Discussion Draft and anticipates returning to the Board of Port Commissioners in May 2021 to present and discuss the feedback received, and then receive Board feedback and direction on the Draft MCAS.


The Port has identified four overall objectives/goals:

  • Promote environmental stewardship and the maritime industry
  • Advance emission reduction efforts that are ambitious and provide direct benefits to the Portside Community
  • Advance equity and environmental justice
  • Support California’s ZE/NZE mobile source goals and GHG reduction targets


  • Cargo Handling Equipment (CHE)

    Cargo Handling Equipment (CHE)

    Cargo handling equipment is used to support terminal activities and move cargo on and off ocean-going vessels, harbor craft, rail, and trucks. A wide range of cargo handling equipment operates at the Port due to the diversity of cargo handled at each maritime terminal, which includes large containers, breakbulk, dry bulk, and passenger activity.  
    CHE Goal: Attain substantial reductions for CHE related emissions.
    CHE Objectives:

    • Facilitate the upgrading and/or replacement of CHE with zero/near-zero alternatives at the Port’s marine terminals to attain a 90% reduction in nitrogen oxides (NOx), an 80% reduction in diesel particulate matter (DPM), and 50% reduction in CO2e below 2019 levels by 2026.
    • Continue to stay engaged with CARB rulemaking development.
  • Commercial Harbor Craft

    Commercial Harbor Craft

    Commercial harbor craft include a variety of vessel and boat types that serve many functions including crew and supply boats, charter fishing vessels, commercial fishing vessels, ferry and excursion vessels, pilot vessels, towboats or push boats, tugboats, barges, and work boats. 

    Goal: Reduce emissions from Harbor Craft by advancing emerging zero emission technologies through 2031.

    • Support ZE tugboats and ferries in advance of State regulations, as opportunities become available.
    • Advance the State’s goals for commercial harbor craft by supporting short-run ferry operators with implementing ZE ferries for all new short-runs, and by assisting tug operators with implementing hybrid/electric technologies for all new excursion vessels.
  • Drayage Trucks

    Drayage Trucks

    Drayage trucks are on-road, diesel-fueled, heavy duty trucks that transport containers and bulk to and from the ports and intermodal railyards as well as to many other locations. At the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, trucks mainly consist of refrigerated container trucks, dry bulk and unibody trucks to move dry bulk and multi-purpose general cargo. At the National City Marine Terminal, trucks mainly consist of car carriers, along with some flatbeds and trailers to move project cargo, and material deliveries for automobile services.

    Goal 1: To improve the air quality of the Portside Community, accelerate the phase-out of diesel trucks that call to the Port’s marine terminals, in alignment with the State’s long-term goal to reach 100% ZE Drayage Trucks by 2035.

    • 1A: Develop a short-haul on-road ZE Truck Shuttle Program comprised of a trucking company and/or independent drivers to displace approximately 20,000 diesel vehicle miles traveled (equal to about 12% of community miles) by 2024 and continuing through 2026.
    • 1B: Reduce 10% of the 2016 Maritime Air Emissions Inventory’s truck emissions (DPM and NOx) by 2023 by working with stakeholder to deploy: a) technologies; or b) fuels; or c) by modifying current business practices and operations.
    • 1C: Use the truck registry system to promote that all fixed, short-haul drayage truck routes are ZE by 2031.
    • 1D: Collaborate with community residents, stakeholders, and agencies to identify up to three locations for ZE truck charging by each site capable to serve ten trucks simultaneously by 2023
    • 1E: Work with SDG&E and community stakeholders to develop sites identified in 1D to provide the best available charging technology, and to ensure that the sites are accessible to both fleet and independent truckers and that there is a fair and reasonable rate structure for customers by 2026.

    Goal 2: Support the designated truck route to avoid truck impacts to the local community.

    • 2A: Work with partners to create a connected and flexible and freight and transit haul route that provides more efficient freeway access and encourages truck drivers to avoid residential neighborhoods by leveraging technology to support dedicated lanes, signal prioritization and/or geofencing.
  • Port Fleet

    Port Fleet

    The Port-owned vehicle fleet includes various passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and heavy-duty trucks that are owned and operated by the Port.

    Short Term Goal 1: Update Port procurement policies to acquire zero emission vehicles and best available alternative fuels or technologies.

    • 1A: Update the Port’s vehicle procurement policy to identify a hierarchy of procurement considerations which targets zero emission vehicles and then best available fuels to ensure the lowest emitting option available.
    • 1B: Create a zero emission vehicle transition plan in FY 2022 for the Port’s fleet of vehicles and equipomet which identifies a long-term acquisition schedule for when current vehicles and equipment will be phased out and new electric vehicles and equipment is anticipated to be procured.

    Short Term Goal 2: Procure zero emission vehicles and necessary electric vehicle service equipment for charging beginning in FY 2022.

    • 2A: Procure at least two battery electric medium- to heavy-duty vehicles in FY 2022.
    • 2B: Apply to SDG&E’s Power Your Drive for Fleets Program in calendar year 2021 which aims to install infrastructure to support power needs and electric vehicle charging located at the General Services facility.

    Long Term Goal 1: Shift to battery-electric vehicles with a target of all light-duty vehicles becoming electric by 2030 and all medium- to heavy-duty vehicles becoming electric by 2035.

    Long Term Goal 2: Transition emergency vehicles to alternative fuels including hybrid, electric, and/or low carbon fuels.

    Long Term Goal 3: Convert equipment such as forklifts, small powered generators, and lawn maintenance equipment to zero emissions, hybrid technologies, and/or low carbon fuels, where feasible and commercially available.

    Long Term Goal 4: Seek opportunities to advance lower emitting solutions for marine vessels (few options exist for zero emission vessels).

  • Shipyards


    Shipyards are a place where ships are built and repaired, these can be yachts, military vessels, cruise liners or other cargo or passenger ships. 

    The Port’s three major shipyards have committed to the following emission reduction strategies as part of the Portside Community’s AB 617 Draft Community Emission Reduction Plan (November 2020), and are summarized below.

    • AB 617 Draft CERP Action G5: Reduce DPM and NOx Emissions from Portable Air Compressors and Other Diesel Sources at Shipyards.
      The shipyards have committed to requiring on site portable air compressors to be powered by either electric or diesel Tier 4 engines, in addition to continuing ongoing actions to reduce emissions from on and off-road diesel equipment, no later than May 1, 2021.
    • AB 617 Draft CERP Action G6: Promote Best Practices for Reducing Diesel, VOC, and other Emissions from Ship Repair Activities.
      The shipyards have committed to conduct trainings and events focused on best practices for ship repair contractors to reduce emissions.
    • AB 617 Draft CERP Action G7: Reduce Emissions from Shipyard Employee Transportation.
      The shipyards have committed to promoting and increasing participation in alternative transportation.
  • Ocean-Going Vessels

    Ocean-Going Vessels

    Ocean-going vessels are used to transport goods and people to and from domestic and international ports. Emission sources from ocean-going vessels include propulsion engines, auxiliary engines, and auxiliary boilers. Propulsion engines are used to propel the ship and are usually either medium-speed diesel or slow-speed diesel and release emissions while in transit. Auxiliary engines are typically used when the vessel is at berth to keep operating systems running when there is not the ability to use shore power.

    In-Transit Goal 1: Reduce OGV in-transit annual emissions by 243 tons for NOx, 5 tons for DPM and 9,685 metric tons for CO2e.
    Objective 1A: Implement an expanded Vessel Speed Reduction Program that achieves upwards of 90% compliance.

    At-Berth Goal 2: Reduce OGV At-Berth emissions by expanding existing and/or developing new shore power systems and/or equivalent technologies at the Port’s marine terminals.

    • 2A: At Cruise Ship Terminal, add additional plug to existing shore power system by 2023.
    • 2B: At the National City Marine Terminal, add new shore power system with at least two plugs by 2025.
    • 2C: At Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, add additional plug to existing shore power system by 2031.
  • Rail


    Rail locomotives carry freight cargo between the Port and regional destinations. Freight rail service has access to both Port terminals, Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal and National City Marine Terminal, and the railroad also has switch yards adjacent to the terminals where rail cars can be decoupled to be added to other trains.

    Goal 1: Implement Rail Upgrades identified in TAMT EIR.
    Objective 1: Complete TAMT rail upgrades including a rail lubricator and compressed air system for air brake testing.

    Goal 2: Promote the use of Single Engine Tier 4 Switcher if applicable to operations at TAMT and NCMT.
    Objective 2: Tenants that rely on rail operations to move cargo shall be encouraged to use cleaner switchers.


The Port intends to support timely and cost-effective implementation of maritime-related clean air and emissions reduction solutions. Funding for the various projects and initiatives identified in the MCAS could come from multiple sources, including the Port. The Port is working with and will continue to work with our neighboring jurisdictions, partners and our tenants to identify funding, and to collaborate on seeking state and federal grants.

Equity/Environmental Justice

One of the overall goals of the MCAS is to advance equity and environmental justice by ensuring improvements provide direct, meaningful, and measurable benefits to the community. Therefore, the Port has and will continue to engage nearby residents, tenants, and other stakeholders in regular conversations about the emission reduction efforts throughout the project to receive further input and feedback.


June 2019
June 2019

Board of Port Commissioners initiates development of the MCAS.

March 2020
March 2020

Port staff presented to the Board a recommended approach for completing the MCAS.

July 2020
July 2020

Port staff shared an informational update on the AB 617 CERP and MCAS including opportunities to continue advancing clean air investments, preliminary truck survey results, updated cargo handling equipment information, and a status update on the CARB’s proposed At-Berth Regulation update. Staff also provided recommendations regarding preliminary emission reduction strategies and community benefits for discussion and potential inclusion in the Draft AB 617 CERP with the AB 617 Steering Committee and associated subcommittees as applicable.

November 2020
November 2020

APCD staff presented the Draft AB 617 CERP with early action strategies to the County Board of Supervisors for review and feedback. 

February 2021
February 2021

Port staff provided MCAS status update to Board of Port Commissioners.

March 2021
March 2021

Port staff publishes MCAS Discussion Draft for four-week public review and feedback period.

May 2021
May 2021
  • Port staff anticipates returning to the Board to receive feedback and direction on the Draft MCAS.
  • Draft AB 617 CERP targeted for completion.
July 2021
July 2021

APCD to take action on the Draft AB 617 CERP. If APCD adopts the Draft AB617 CERP in July, CARB to consider final approval of the AB 617 CERP.

Maritime Clean Air Strategy FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

What is AB 617 and how is it related to the MCAS?

The MCAS and AB 617 Community Air Protection Program are complementary efforts - each informs and supports the other.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) established the Community Air Protection Program (or AB 617 Program) in 2018, which tasks local air pollution control districts to work with communities to develop community-focused emission reduction programs. In September 2018, CARB selected the Portside Community for air monitoring, which includes the neighborhoods of Barrio Logan, West National City, Logan Heights, and Sherman Heights, as well as the Port’s Working Waterfront between the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal and the National City Marine Terminal.

The San Diego Air Pollution Control District (APCD) is responsible for implementing AB 617 and established the AB 617 Steering Committee which includes 28 members who represent residents, agencies, industry, non-profits, and other pertinent stakeholders. Port Commissioner Sandy Naranjo, who represents National City on the Board of Port Commissioners, is the Port’s representative on the AB 617 Steering Committee.

In December 2019, CARB designated the Portside Community for a Community Emissions Reduction Plan (AB 617 CERP) to focus and accelerate new actions that go beyond existing State and regional programs and provide direct reductions in air pollution emissions and exposure. The APCD is currently working with the Portside Community Steering Committee to prepare an AB 617 CERP to be reviewed by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. Following action by the County Board of Supervisors, the Portside Community’s AB 617 CERP will be brought to the California Air Resources Board for adoption.

What are some of the Port’s proposed strategies to include into the AB 617 Portside Environmental Justice Neighborhood’s (Portside Community’s) Community Air Protection Program (AB 617 CERP)?

  • Develop a short-haul on-road electric truck pilot program for one or more routes to/from the Port terminals;
  • Identify and prioritize higher-emitting cargo handling equipment to be replaced and/or upgraded with zero and near-zero cargo handling equipment at the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal (TAMT); 
  • Prioritize projects and investments in accordance with (CARB’s) anticipated At-Berth Regulation; and
  • Support for preliminary project ideas, such as:
    • Advance improvements identified in the Harbor Drive Multimodal Corridor Study, including multiple multi-modal and urban greening improvements;
    • Develop a short-haul electrification pilot program for warehouses, commercial and delivery uses within the cities of San Diego and National City; 
    • Complete additional feasibility analyses to support the advancement of cargo handling equipment and truck fleet electrification; and
    • Identify potential electrical truck parking and electric truck charging stations in the San Diego region, including possible use of wireless charging.