The programme is being phased in at each terminal beginning with the use in January of the blended fuel at APM Terminals. The blended product is designed to reduce emissions. In July 2010, VIT began using the blended fuel in its cargo handling equipment at Newport News Marine Terminal.
In 1999, the VPA voluntarily implemented an emissions reduction program through revisions to its equipment purchasing policies. All new cargo handling equipment at port facilities now have the lowest emission producing engines available on the market.
From 1999 to 2005, air emissions from cargo handling activities decreased by 30%, despite a 55 % increase in cargo volume. From 2005 to 2015, emissions are expected to decline by an additional 38%, while cargo volumes are forecast to increase 49%. In addition, in July 2007, VIT voluntarily began port-wide use of ultra low-sulphur diesel fuel, three years ahead of a federal mandate. That switch resulted in a 30 percent reduction in particulate matter emissions and a 99 percent reduction in sulphur-oxide emissions.
Biodiesel is a clean burning alternative fuel, produced from domestic, renewable resources such as plant oils, animal fats, used cooking oil and even new sources such as algae. Biodiesel contains no petroleum, but can be blended at any level with petroleum diesel to create a biodiesel blend. Biodiesel blends can be used in compression-ignition (diesel) engines with little or no modifications.