MINNEAPOLIS (September 8, 2022) — Today, the Minneapolis City Council unanimously passed a Ship It Zero resolution 12-0. Minneapolis City Council President Andrea Jenkins and City Council Member Robin Wonsley Worlobah co-introduced the resolution on September 6, calling on top maritime import polluters to the United States, including Minneapolis’s own Target Corporation, to commit to making all imports to the United States on 100% zero-emission ships by 2030.
Minneapolis is now the third U.S. city to pass a Ship It Zero resolution, following precedent set by Los Angeles and Long Beach, CA. These three cities have called on top maritime import polluters to the United States including Target, Walmart, Amazon, and IKEA, to immediately adopt emission-reducing technologies such as wind-assist propulsion and fully move products off fossil-fueled ships by the end of the decade. Together, Los Angeles and Long Beach are the top site of Target Corporation’s imports.
The Minneapolis resolution further calls for state and federal legislation or administrative actions to rapidly decarbonize the maritime shipping industry and create zero-emission shipping corridors along the U.S. Coast and across the trans-Pacific trade route, building off the recently announced Shanghai, Los Angeles, and Long Beach green shipping corridor.
Ninety-five percent of Target’s imports pass through West Coast ports, especially Los Angeles and Long Beach. Together, the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports are home to the largest port complex in the Western Hemisphere, responsible for 40% of imports to the United States. Pandemic-era fossil-fueled ship congestion has increased cancer-causing particulate matter emissions by an equivalent to 100,000 big rig trucks per day in these cities. This is exacerbating an ongoing public health crisis for residents of the West Long Beach, Wilmington, and San Pedro neighborhoods, who experience up to five years shorter life expectancy than the national average. Black Long Beach residents are hospitalized with asthma at eight times the rate, and Latinx residents twice the rate, of white Long Beach residents.
Statements from the Minneapolis Ship It Zero Coalition:
“Given the enormous impact of climate change has on our environment, economic circumstances and public health, I am proud to support this initiative that could potentially help address these very real concerns,” said City Council President Andrea Jenkins, Ward 8. “This resolution calls on large retailers to abandon fossil fueled ships and transition to 100% zero-emission ships by 2030, serves to create awareness about the devastating climate impacts of the maritime shipping industry across the county, and is a first step in initiating conversations with local retailers and government partners to advocate for greater climate strategies that address the subsequent air and water pollution from these practices.”
“I am deeply committed to advancing a Green New Deal for Minneapolis because we know that cities must take bold and urgent action to combat our ever growing climate crisis,” said Council Member Robin Wonsley Worlobah, Ward 2. “This resolution not only advances our city’s climate justice efforts but also holds one of the nation’s largest maritime polluters and Minnesota-based company, Target, accountable by letting them know that Minneapolis residents want clear air to breathe for people across the nation.”
“I join the call to top maritime polluters, especially those with large footprints in Minneapolis, to commit to immediate and impactful decarbonizing efforts,” said Council Member Aisha Chughtai, Ward 10. “I’m grateful for the work of Councilmember Wonsley, Council President Jenkins, our Sustainability team, and Ship It Zero. This is just one of many ways our city can move towards our climate impact goals and ensure our residents will have a future with clean air and water.”
“We thank Target Corporation’s hometown of Minneapolis for making history by unanimously passing the world’s third zero-emission ocean shipping city council resolution” said Dawny’all Heydari, Ship It Zero Campaign Lead, Pacific Environment. “Minneapolis joins Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, the port cities that house Target’s largest import volumes to the United States, in calling on retailers to commit to 100% zero-emission ocean shipping by 2030. As citizens, communities, and cities rise up for a just future at America’s ports, free of climate-disrupting, life-shortening ship pollution, retailers like Target must heed the call to remain competitive in the twenty-first century. Otherwise, Target and other import polluters risk brand association with high rates of asthma, cancer, and premature death in largely Black and Brown working-class portside neighborhoods.”
“We commend the leadership of the Minneapolis City Council in urging major retailers, like Target Corporation, to tackle their massive maritime shipping pollution problem. Target primarily imports through the West Coast ports of LA/Long Beach and Seattle/Tacoma, and the resulting air pollution has very real health consequences for portside neighborhoods. It is primarily lower income and communities of color that are bearing these outsized health burdens and lower life expectancies from the constant ship exhaust exposures. We urge Target to leverage its enormous power as one of the leading US importers to take immediate steps to reduce and rapidly eliminate the air and climate-disrupting pollution from the ocean shipping in their supply chain,” said Kendra Ulrich, Shipping Campaigns Director for Stand.earth.
Approximately 90% of the world trade is transported by sea, and current business-as-usual scenarios project fossil fueled ship emissions will grow up to 50% over 2018 levels. On its current trajectory, ocean trade is projected to grow by as much as 130% by 2050 over today’s trade volume: if ships remain on fossil fuels, they will represent 17% of global carbon dioxide emissions by mid-century.
Target and the international ocean cargo shipping industry currently rely on the dirtiest option in the market to fuel their ships: heavy fuel oil, a tarlike substance containing asthma and cancer-causing air pollutants including particulate matter. The fuel is so dirty that sometimes melted car tires and chemical waste that companies do not want to dispose of safely are added to shipping oil.
The science shows that solutions are within grasp. According to a 2020 International Council on Clean Transportation study, transpacific voyages could be powered by green, carbon and methane-free, electrolyzed hydrogen instead of fossil fuels, with only minor changes to ships’ fuel capacity or operations. Specifically, 57% of journeys could be made by replacing just 5% of ships’ cargo space with more hydrogen fuel or by adding one additional stop to refuel hydrogen en route, while 43% of all voyages could be made without additional fuel capacity or stops.
Danish shipping giant Maersk announced this year that it will install offshore electric-powered charging stations at up to 100 ports globally to reduce emissions from the approximately 3,500 fossil-fueled ships in its fleet. This will reduce carbon emissions by 5 million tons a year overall. Maersk also accelerated its overall climate ambitions by a decade, planning for 25-50% decarbonization by 2030.
IKEA and Amazon have signaled initial commitments to reduce their shipping emissions significantly by 2030. IKEA has committed to become “climate positive” by 2030, reducing more greenhouse gas emissions than the value chain emits, including in ocean shipping.
At COP26, Amazon joined the First Movers Coalition to help commercialize emerging technologies to decarbonize heavy industries including ocean shipping, and committed to moving 10% of its freight on zero-emissions ships by 2030. Also at COP26, governments and CEOs launched the Clydebank Declaration to establish green shipping corridors among some of the busiest maritime shipping routes.
This is something that we are seeing too in the race to zero emissions for ocean shipping – in June, Long Beach City Council passed a Ship It Zero resolution calling for 100% zero-emissions ships at the Port of Long Beach by 2030.
Early this year, the Ports of Shanghai and Los Angeles announced that they will work with industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the movement of cargo throughout the 2020s, including a goal to “begin” transitioning to zero-carbon fueled ships by 2030 to cut emissions from one of the world’s busiest cargo routes. The Port of Long Beach later joined this green shipping corridor.
Last November, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted to adopt Councilmember Nithya Raman’s resolution calling on top ocean cargo importers to the United States, including Target, to commit to making all port calls to the San Pedro Port Complex and the Port of Los Angeles 100% zero-emissions ocean shipping by 2030.