SSA Marine Switches to Renewable Fuel for Cargo-Handling Equipment

SSA Marine
SSA Marine
One of SSA Marine’s three Long Beach container terminals. Photo via POLB.

SSA Marine, which operates three container terminals at the Port of Long Beach, has become the port’s first terminal operator to transition its fossil-fueled cargo-handling equipment fleet to renewable diesel fuel.

Renewable diesel has the same chemical energy as traditional diesel fuel, but is synthesized from sources such as animal fat from food wastes, used cooking oil and soybean oil. The move is expected to achieve a 68% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions across SSA’s Long Beach terminals, according to the port.

The change involved more than 230 pieces of equipment across the company’s Long Beach terminals. SSA converted its fueling to support the goals of the Clean Air Action Plan, a partnership between the Long Beach and Los Angeles ports which calls for greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.

“Cutting these emissions would not be possible without the leadership shown by partners like SSA Marine,” POLB Executive Director Mario Cordero said, adding that SSA making its operations cleaner “shows the goods movement industry the way to a greener future.”

In addition to its portwide renewable-fuel transition, SSA is working on other initiatives to transition its cargo-handling fleet to zero emissions by 2030. At Pier J, the company recently completed a demonstration of two battery-electric top handlers, and is converting nine rubber-tired gantry cranes in to fully electric.

Six are already in operation and the remaining three are expected to be converted by early 2022. By the middle of next year, SSA’s terminal at Pier C will deploy 33 zero-emission yard tractors with supporting infrastructure, according to the port. SSA also operates a terminal at Pier A.

“We know people look to the Port of Long Beach and our partners to set an example when it comes to sustainability,” Long Beach Harbor Commission President Steven Neal said in a statement. “This is what can be done immediately to reduce greenhouse gases while new technologies are developed to reach our ultimate goal of zero emissions.”