Freight Transport

Freight and goods movement is the movement of consumer and commercial goods by ship, rail, truck,  or plane. In Philadelphia, marine ports are iconic reminders of the great history of shipping in the Greater Philadelphia region, and serve as a nexus of freight movement activities like truck, rail and intermodal facilities. These facilities provide much needed jobs and revenues. At the same time, these activities result in major emissions from the ships, locomotives, and trucks coming in and out of port facilities as well as from onsite operations such as the use of cargo handling equipment.

As ports, rail yards, and truck traffic expand to accommodate even greater cargo volumes, they will move increasingly close to low-income residential neighbors. Delaware River communities bear some brunt of pollution disparity in Philadelphia. Freight transport facilities are home to a widerange of air emission sources. Ports not only receive cargo carried on ships emitting fumes, but also operate diesel-powered land-based cranes and other machinery necessary to load and unload ship’s cargo. Of further concern are truck and railroad traffic that transports cargo to the surrounding region and beyond, development activities that generate pollution through construction, demolition, and dredging, and the emissions from the cargo itself. Historically, these sources of pollution have been overshadowed by concerns about pollution in other industries, and less attention has been paid to port-related environmental impacts.
Working with local industry leaders, the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority, the City of Philadelphia Water Department, community-groups from riverfront communities and other stakeholders, Clean Air Council is leading an educational outreach program with the goal of addressing environmental issues in land, air, and water within the Philadelphia freight transport system.

Currently, the Council is prioritizing reducing emissions from drayage trucks, and has worked  to address emissions from off-road equipment, stormwater control, and environmental management systems on port facilities.

The greater Philadelphia region lays at the intersection of two major transportation corridors.

DVRPC “Freight for a Day"

The newly launched Mid-Atlantic Green Operator Program is an initiative that seeks to reduce air pollution by working to replace the older, more polluting short-haul trucks that service the region’s ports with newer, cleaner vehicles. The program accomplishes this goal by providing qualified applicants with $20,000 to be used towards a down payment for a truck with a 2007 or newer engine. These newer vehicles meet more stringent emissions standards.

Goods Movement: Public Health Implications for the Mid Atlantic

September  23, 2011

University of Pennsylvania - Houston Hall - Bodek Lounge

Philadelphia, PA