Port Metro Vancouver is one of the three ports looking to reduce emissions under the new plans.
Three ports along the North American Pacific Coast say they are setting goals to reduce diesel emissions by 75 percent per tonne of cargo by 2015 and 80 percent by 2020.
The Port of Seattle and Port of Tacoma in the U.S., and Port Metro Vancouver, Canada anounced the goals as part of the draft 2013 Update of the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy, which is now open for public comment.
The new goals are based on the results of a 2011 emissions inventory, released in October, that showed maritime pollution had decreased since 2005 thanks partly to voluntary efforts by the maritime industry.
"The good news is that emissions are down and in this Strategy Update we are setting more aggressive goals for the near future," said Stephanie Jones Stebbins, director of environmental and planning at the Port of Seattle.
Stephanie Jones Stebbins, Director of Environment and Planning, Port of Seattle
We are setting more aggressive goals for the near future
"The draft Strategy Update includes both aggressive reduction goals and sector-specific actions to meet those goals."
Even with a projected increase in cargo moving through the ports, it is estimated that the new goals would reduce overall emissions by 70 percent by 2015 and 75 percent by 2020.
"Air quality affects our entire region, and we pride ourselves on working collaboratively with a range of partners - from other ports and air agencies to our customers and vendors - to improve the environment and protect human health while providing a healthy supply chain," said Jason Jordan, director of environmental programs at the Port of Tacoma.
"The cooperative effort that launched the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy several years ago remains intact and strong today."