Port of Los Angeles Adopts International Clean Air Program

Port of Los Angeles Becomes First US Seaport to Adopt International Clean Air Program

The Port of Los Angeles, recently, became the first seaport in North America and the Pacific Rim to adopt an international clean air program that rewards ocean carriers for bringing their newest and cleanest vessels to the Port.

The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners formally approved an Environmental Ship Index (ESI) program to take effect July 1.

The ESI is a web-based tool developed by the World Ports Climate Initiative (WPCI), a project of the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH). The ESI program, already underway at several major European ports, offers immediate and significant clean air benefits by rewarding vessel operators for voluntary engine, fuel and technology enhancements that reduce emissions from ships beyond the regulatory environmental standards set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Ship emissions are the single-largest source of air pollution from port-related operations. While diesel particulate matter (DPM) and sulfur oxide (SOx) emissions from ships calling at the Port of Los Angeles decreased 68 percent and 74 percent, respectively, between 2005 and 2010, Los Angeles sees the ESI as another strong step to encourage the building and deployment of cleaner-burning ships in the TransPacific trade lane.

“We are proud to introduce this win-win strategy to North America and the Pacific Rim,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “Today’s action shows our city continues to build on its commitment to think globally, act locally.”

“The ESI sets the gold standard for green shipping and we encourage other ports to follow suit,” said Port Executive Director Geraldine Knatz Ph.D. “The larger success of this program lies in its adoption by as many ports as possible to increase the rewards for operators willing to invest in clean air and maximize the health benefits for everyone.”

Under Knatz, who chairs the WPCI and is the current president of IAPH, the Port of Los Angeles has been instrumental in developing the global index. Like other WPCI programs aimed at reducing vessel pollution and greenhouse gases and promoting sustainable practices, the ESI can be tailored to fit a port’s operational and regional requirements. Fourteen European ports have adopted the program.

The Port of Los Angeles developed its ESI with input from the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association and other stakeholders. Its program also conforms to the San Pedro Bay Clean Ports Air Action Plan, which sets specific bay-wide targets for near-term pollution reduction through 2014 and long-term objectives through 2023.

Specifically, operators whose vessels call at the Port can earn an incentive ranging from $250 to $5,250 per ship call by meeting one or all of the following three requirements:

  • Scoring 30 or more ESI points based on a vessel’s engine specifications and emissions certification; use of low sulfur fuel, plug-in ready on-board shore power technology, and a Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP).
  • Deploying ships with a Tier II or Tier III engine to the Port of Los Angeles.
  • Participating in a demonstration program to test and improve vessel emission reduction technology.

Incentives will be paid on a quarterly basis, with the first distribution scheduled for October 2012. For the first sixth months of the program, ships can qualify for the first incentive with a score of 25 points. The lower introductory threshold is intended to encourage early participation and help operators familiarize themselves with the ESI website and reporting requirements.

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Source: Port of Los Angeles, May 9, 2012

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