SF Bay Area Sets the Supply Chain “Green” Standard

By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
November 21, 2013 - SCMR Editorial

The San Francisco Bay Area can easily lay claim to being the epicenter for supply chain sustainability, with scores of companies here united in a mission to make transportation cleaner and more efficient.

The most recent example of this collaborative effort took place in San Francisco last month when BSR staged its annual global conference. For logistics managers, the highlight of the event was BSR’s Clean Cargo Working Group (CCWG) session, which provided an update on ocean carrier performance and environmental compliance. 

Container carriers have been reporting their CO2 performance to shippers in a credible and comparable format, based on the CCWG CO2 methodology—the only existing and broadly recognized industry standard for container shipping—for the past five years.

This reporting and dialogue enables shippers to calculate the environmental impacts of transporting goods around the world and benchmark carriers’ performance. Having this information helps multinationals like Nike, Heineken and Wal-Mart make informed buying decisions in their supply chains. CCWG also consistently engages in dialogue with other initiatives and experts working on these issues in the global transport industry to align approaches that can improve information sharing and performance for shippers and cargo carriers across the full transport supply chain.


Among the many carrier members of CCWG is Matson Navigation Company, Inc., headquartered across the Bay in Oakland. This storied and iconic carrier recently announced that it has signed a contract with Aker Philadelphia Shipyard Inc. to build two new “clean” vessels for the transpacific trade.

The 3,600 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) containerships will be equipped with dual fuel engines that have liquefied natural gas capability and are expected to be delivered in the third and fourth quarters of 2018.  Matson also announced that the first of the two new ships will be named after the late Senator Daniel K. Inouye, who was a longstanding supporter of the U.S. maritime industry and its role in supporting Hawaii’s economy. 

The 850-foot long vessels will be the largest Jones Act containerships ever constructed and are designed to operate at speeds in excess of 23 knots, ensuring timely delivery of goods in Hawaii.  Importantly, the ships will also be able to navigate safely into some of Hawaii’s smaller ports.

The new vessels will incorporate a number of “green ship technology” features such as a fuel efficient hull design, dual fuel engines, environmentally safe double-hull fuel tanks and fresh water ballast systems.  Matson executives told Pacific Rim Report that these state-of-the-art advancements are important to Hawaii as a means to reduce fuel consumption, resulting in significant emission reductions over time in their “home trade.”


The Port of Oakland – home base for Matson – has made some “green” advances of its own, having just completed its shore power infrastructure project. This innovative shore-to-ship connection provides electrical power to the vessel, thereby significantly reducing diesel and other air pollutant emissions from ships while they are at berth.

Shore power at the Port of Oakland is a two-phase, multi-year program covering eleven berths. The port has completed construction of its new electrical infrastructure system (Phases 1 & 2). Final testing of the new system is scheduled to be finished this month.
Finally, it’s important to note that the Port of Oakland took on the cost and burden of installing a shore power system to assist its stakeholders in another important way.

The financial and operational challenge of complying with California’s new regulations to dramatically reduce air pollutant emissions is massive. But Bay Area residents can now be assured that logistics providers not only bring jobs and investment to the region…but also set a new standard of corporate citizenship. 

About the Author

Patrick Burnson
Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review. Patrick covers international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. Contact Patrick Burnson


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