The Northwest Seaport Alliance

At a Glance


Transport and Warehousing

Project Types

Data Analysis, Engagement and Behavior Change, Financial Evaluation and Planning, Sustainability and Energy Management Strategy




Tacoma and Seattle, WA


Megan Ross provided The Northwest Seaport Alliance with recommendations and analytics tools that will help them move toward a zero-emissions CHE fleet.


The Northwest Seaport Alliance, fourth largest cargo port in the United States, is preparing to update the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy which is aimed at reducing air emissions from maritime and port-related activities. Landside port activities are supported by cargo-handling equipment (CHE) spanning a variety of types such as cranes, forklifts, and yard trucks. As a part of the updated strategy, NWSA hopes to develop the potential for cleaner CHE at its terminals over the upcoming decade. To achieve this, they engaged EDF Climate Corps fellow Megan Ross to design a program in alignment with their GHG emissions reduction goals, that would provide a strong business case for terminal tenants to upgrade to cleaner equipment.


Ross framed the Clean CHE Program as a long-term, port-wide strategy that would enable the NWSA to modernize operations and remain competitive by working together with its tenants to upgrade infrastructure and equipment over time.

After analyzing CHE usage, technology options and alternative fuels, Megan recommended that the NWSA pursue cleaner CHE solutions both technologically and operationally. Technological advancement could be made by transitioning a historically heavy-duty diesel-powered fleet to zero-emission models. Through tenant outreach and education, strategic technology demonstrations, and long-term planning and design of terminal infrastructure, operational improvements would further the new goals.

Her analysis also demonstrated that over the lifespan of the equipment, capital investments could be recovered through lowered operational costs in fuel and maintenance. It also showed that investment in the physical infrastructure supporting zero-emission CHE, would align with other opportunities for port growth while potentially avoiding additional capital costs in the long term. To help NWSA implement these solutions, Ross developed a financial analysis tool to dynamically model project scenarios, enabling investment decision-making based on financial metrics and emissions reductions estimates.

Potential Impact

Transitioning to a zero-emission CHE fleet by 2050 could result in an estimated 1.2 million metric tons of CO2e direct emissions avoided for the NWSA. Ross’s analysis tool will enable NWSA to prepare tenants for grant opportunities aimed at the purchase of cleaner equipment. It will also assist in developing a strategy for terminal infrastructure upgrades making the Clean CHE Program an important part of the five-year update to the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy.

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