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Neptune Terminals demonstrates how businesses can grow and reduce carbon emissions at the same time

GHG Reductions against 2011 baseline:

  • 12% emissions reduction per 1000 MT of product handled
  • 20% decrease in electricity emissions

Low Emission Solutions:

  • Electric welders for on-site contract reduce GHG impact by 90%
  • Purchased EV yard truck & installed EV charging station

Neptune Terminals is located on the Burrard Inlet in North Vancouver and handles several different bulk commodities. The terminal offers three berths for shipping, multiple rail tracks, rail unloading facilities, storage warehouses, conveyers to deliver products to ships, and numerous other commodity-specific infrastructure to move bulk commodities.

Neptune Terminals participates in Climate Smart as a part of the Port of Vancouver’s initiative to become the world’s most sustainable port by 2050. Neptune Terminals is among a network of businesses such as Global Container Terminals, Vancouver Pile Driving, and Fraser Surrey Docks, that are taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint, stay competitive in supply chains, and participate in the low carbon economy. Further north, Prince Rupert Port Authority is also leading on climate, participating in both Climate Smart and Green Marine, while innovating with shore power and actively promoting a culture of continuous improvement.

Since first profiling Neptune’s work in achieving emission reductions, Climate Smart has followed Neptune’s continued journey demonstrating their leadership in sustainability and as a service provider to Canadian commodity producers. As a service provider, Neptune’s business has been booming. Since 2011, the terminal’s throughput has increased by over 25%, while absolute emissions have increased against baseline by just 9%. In terms of emissions intensity, Neptune has successfully reduced its emissions per 1000 metric tonnes of product handled by 12% against its 2011 baseline. Over the same period of time, Neptune’s electricity demand has dropped considerably, and it has kept its largest source of emissions — fuel consumption by vehicles and equipment — very close to the consumption levels recorded in its baseline year, all the while moving more product.

So, where has Neptune been focusing its reduction efforts as it continues to grow and anticipate even significantly more growth into 2020 and 2021?

Sustainability as business-as-usual

Building off of numerous investments in energy efficient equipment over the years, Neptune continues to upgrade its lighting to LEDs, and invest in more energy efficient engines for equipment wherever possible. Both LED lighting and retrofitting equipment engines can be eligible for rebates, and Neptune has used these technologies to help create the business case for lower emission and energy efficient options.

These ongoing efforts reflect the prioritization of energy efficiency and environmental considerations from the highest levels at Neptune. There is a collective understanding that regulation will continue to get tighter and that being proactive provides an inherent business case in a world with an increasingly changing climate. Supported by senior management, Neptune employs a team of people to ensure that environmental considerations are reflected in as many aspects of work as possible.

Embedding Neptune principles into RFQ guidance

A clear example of embedding sustainability into the process at Neptune occurred in 2018 when the company began talks with a contractor tasked to increase the terminal’s throughput capabilities. Environmental Systems Specialist Stacy Bell was at the table, which meant that environmental considerations could be raised as the contractor went through the steps of determining how they were going to do their job and what they were going to do.

“I began by asking questions,” Stacy says. “They were explaining some of the diesel welders they were going to bring in, so I asked them to consider electric welders. After some back and forth, it was agreed to use electric over diesel to both minimize the emissions associated with the work, and to minimize the noise disturbance to the nearby community residents.”

The decision to use electric welders reduced the total CO2e produced by the project by approximately 90%. While ultimately the responsibility of the contractor to choose their equipment, this example provides a good business case for switching equipment to a different fuel source to reduce emissions, and likely would not have been undertaken without Stacy’s suggestion. In addition to recommending electric welders, Neptune further requested their contractors separate waste for appropriate disposal and mandated carpooling and transit options to the terminal worksite.

Trialling an electric yard truck and making electric vehicle charging equipment available to all

Given the low emissions intensity electricity grid in British Colombia, Neptune sees a good opportunity to test equipment in industrial areas. To that end, in 2018 Neptune also invested in both electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure and a zero emission yard vehicle called the Might-E-Truck. The EV infrastructure offers charging for both Neptune employees and company vehicles such as the Might-E-Truck. The Might-E-Truck will be trialled in 2020, with hopes of determining how it will fare against similar fuel-powered vehicles currently in use in Neptune’s fleet.

As it learns more through its trials, Neptune Terminals is keen to share its results with other Port facilities looking to try alternatives to gas and diesel-powered vehicles, particularly those that operate in areas with low-emission grids.

Climate Smart’s practical, solutions-based program now available online

With online tools and training, Climate Smart is able to help businesses continue their important work on climate and support the transition to a cleaner and more resilient low carbon future.

The next online Climate Smart program kicks off on June 23rd. Financial support and generous discounts are available from HSBC Bank Canada, City of North Vancouver, City of Edmonton, Port of Vancouver, and Vancity. If you know businesses that may be a fit, please spread the word. Details here.

For over a decade, Climate Smart has helped hundreds of businesses, across all sectors, to profitably reduce emissions and cut costs on energy, fuel and waste. The focus on the business case for carbon reductions — cost savings, reduced climate risk, employee engagement, and improved operational efficiencies — adds up to increased competitive advantage.

To learn more and get started, see and contact or 1-888-688-6283.

Posted by Alex Woudzia on

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