Air Quality

Improving air quality in the Houston-Galveston-Brazoria Region remains a priority for Port Houston. The port utilizes:

  • New technologies
  • Alternative fuels
  • Strategic fleet replacement with low-emission vehicles and equipment
  • Employee vanpool program

100% Renewable Electricity at Port Houston

Solar Panels on farm in West TexasAs part of a larger, multi-year program to reduce its carbon footprint, Port Houston approved a contract for a 100% renewable solar power field to be built for Port Houston’s electrical power, no renewable energy credits (RECs) needed.  This landmark program will eliminate an estimated 250,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions from Port Houston’s carbon footprint over 10 years.

Other Port Houston carbon dioxide reduction efforts include replacing all high-mast lighting with LEDs at container terminals, choosing to purchase only hybrid-electric rubber-tire gantry (RTG) cranes, evaluating building energy management systems, and demonstration projects with all-electric RTGs and terminal tractors.

These efforts combined have reduced Port Houston’s carbon footprint by 60% from the chosen 2016-2017 baseline. Port Houston is on track to reduce its carbon footprint by 70% by 2040.

Port Houston Electric VehiclesCleaner Vehicles for Cleaner Air

In 2020, Port Houston was awarded $1,007,178 in Seaport and Rail Yard Emission Reduction program (SPRY) grant funds to purchase and replace sixteen (16) terminal tractors at Barbours Cut and Bayport Container Terminals with new, clean diesel vehicles.

In 2017, Port Houston was awarded a $143,500 in EPA grant funds to purchase new equipment and vehicles. So far, we have purchased and replaced one (1) vehicle.

In 2015, in partnership with local companies, Port Houston was awarded $863,244 in EPA grant funds. Twenty-three (23) heavy-duty vehicles were purchased and replaced with new, clean diesel vehicles.

In 2014, in partnership with the Houston-Galveston Area Council and local companies, Port Houston was awarded $894,059 in grant funds. Fifteen (15) heavy-duty vehicles were purchased and replaced with new, clean diesel vehicles.

2013 Goods Movement Air Emissions Inventory

The 2013 Goods Movement Air Emissions Inventory (GMEI) uses the latest emission inventory tools and methodologies to quantify mobile source emissions that are associated with Port Houston operations. The mobile sources include ocean-going vessels (OGV), harbor vessels (HV), cargo handling equipment (CHE), locomotives, and heavy-duty diesel vehicles (HDDV). The focus of this inventory is on emissions from Port Houston related cargo movements that transited the Houston-Galveston-Brazoria (HGB) non-attainment ozone area in 2013.Vessel in the Houston Ship Channel

The study found:

  • Ocean going vessels accounted for 58 percent of the nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions
  • Heavy duty diesel-fueled vehicles 15 percent
  • Cargo handling equipment 16 percent
  • Locomotives 7 percent
  • Harbor vessels 4 percent

The executive summary of the inventory is available online here and for the full report, please contact Ken Gathright at or at 713-670-2690.

Clean Air Strategy Plan (CASP)

  • Works to reduce real and sustainable maritime and port-related emissions
  • Multi-source, multi-pollutant, multi-year program has found economically feasible ways and means to achieve emissions reductions from intermodal interests throughout the port area

Drayage Loan Program

From 2009 to 2017, Port Houston partnered with Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) and the Environmental Defense Fund in the Port Drayage Truck Bridge Loan Program Program Features:

  •  H-GAC received $9 million from the EPA’s Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) SmartWay Program
  • Port Houston contributed an additional $50,000 for a loan guarantee fund for high-risk applicants
  • On average, four trucks a month, or 50 trucks a year, were approved for funding
  • Workshops sponsored by Port Houston allowed trucking companies and independent owner/operators to learn about funding opportunities