The Port of Tacoma has received nearly $1.5 million from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reduce diesel and greenhouse gas emissions by retrofitting ships and adding electrical plug-ins at the Totem Ocean Trailer Express, Inc. (TOTE) terminal. This clean diesel project will create jobs while protecting the region’s air quality.

TOTE, a private shipping company that serves the Alaska trade, already has spent almost $900,000 to retrofit two ships to accommodate shore power connections, which allow ships to turn off their engines at the terminal. TOTE also has committed to contributing another $283,000 to complete the project.

TOTE ships will become the first to plug in at Port of Tacoma berths.

“We appreciate the leadership and initiative of partners like TOTE in making our community a cleaner, safer place to live and work,” said Port Commission President Clare Petrich.

The money is provided under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) of 2009 National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program. EPA Region 10, which includes Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, received more than 49 grant applications requesting more than $80 million to help fund clean diesel emissions projects. EPA said the Port’s TOTE project was chosen to both maximize economic impact and emissions reductions.

In addition to retrofitting two TOTE ships with certified ship-side technology, this project will install a shore-side connection system and power at the Port’s TOTE terminal. This plug-in system will eliminate diesel particulate matter and greenhouse gas emissions for ships docked at the terminal. The project also will help create or sustain an estimated 50 manufacturing and local installation jobs.

This project supports the groundbreaking Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy, adopted in early 2008 by the Port and its regional partners, the ports of Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., to meet jointly established short- and long-term clean air goals for ships, cargo-handling equipment, rail, trucks and harbor craft. More than half of the ships that call frequently at the Port already meet the 2010 clean-air goal for ships by using cleaner-burning distillate fuel at berth.

TOTE ships, which call twice a week in Tacoma, are expected to plug into the completed system by fall 2010. Known as “Orca-class” vessels, the ships feature state-of-the-art redundant propulsion and steering systems that exceed state and federal environmental regulations and have earned TOTE numerous awards in recognition of outstanding environmental achievement.

“This investment is money well spent through this public/private process,” TOTE President and COO Bill Deaver said. “We live and work in and around Puget Sound, and it is in everyone’s best interests to protect the environment and the air we breathe. It’s the right thing to do.”

About the Port of Tacoma
The Port of Tacoma is an economic engine for South Puget Sound, with more than 43,000 family-wage jobs in Pierce County and 113,000 jobs across Washington state connected to Port activities. A major gateway to Asia and Alaska, the Port of Tacoma is among the largest container ports in North America. The Port is also a major center for bulk, breakbulk and project/heavy-lift cargoes, as well as automobiles and trucks.

About Totem Ocean Trailer Express, Inc.
Totem Ocean Trailer Express, Inc. (TOTE) is a privately-owned shipping company operating roll-on/roll-off cargo vessels between the ports of Tacoma, Wash., and Anchorage, Alaska, since 1975. Recent environmental awards won by TOTE include: 2008 Washington Recycling Association Recycler of the Year Award; 2007 Tahoma Environmental Business Award; 2006 Washington Governor’s Award for Pollution Prevention and Sustainability. For more information on TOTE, please visit

Contact: Tara Mattina, Port of Tacoma, (253) 428-8674