Friday, August 10, 2012

Six Shippers Commit to LA Port Clean Air Program

Six shipping carriers have agreed to become the inaugural participants in the Port of Los Angeles Environmental Ship Index, an international clean air program that rewards ocean carriers for bringing their newest and cleanest vessels to the port.

Evergreen, Hamburg Süd North America, Inc, Hapag-Lloyd AG Maersk Line, Nippon Yusen Kaisha and Yang Ming have registered for the global program and will begin receiving incentives later this year.

“We applaud these early adopters of the ESI program and encourage not only other carriers to participate but also other ports to join this global port program,” port Executive Director Geraldine Knatz said. “Growing participation among ports worldwide will increase the level of incentives available to ship operators that invest in and deploy the cleanest, most efficient and environmentally friendly fleets.”

The web-based ESI, which was developed through the International Association of Ports & Harbors’ World Ports Climate Initiative, is already underway at 14 European ports, but is the first of its kind in North America and the Pacific Rim.

The Port of Los Angeles developed its ESI with input from the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association and other stakeholders.

Under the program, operators with vessels calling at the port can earn an incentive ranging from $250 to $5,250 per ship call by meeting one or all of 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.
  • Participating in a demonstration program to test and improve vessel emission reduction technology.

The port, which says it has committed $450,000 to jumpstart the program, plans to pay incentives quarterly, with the first distribution scheduled for this October. 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, according to the port.

To participate in the ESI, operators must enroll their companies and vessels in the program through the IAPH/WPCI website, And to receive the incentive payment, operators must also register with the Port of Los Angeles, which can be done at Registration is free.

The port says it initially expects up to 30 percent of the ships calling at the port to qualify for the incentives, and that 30 percent participation would cut diesel particulate matter emissions by 16 tons within the first year and reduce emissions of other primary pollutants, namely nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides and carbon dioxides.

The Port of Los Angeles is also touting the ESI program as an opportunity for vessel operators to get ahead of more stringent California environmental requirements before they become mandatory. On Jan. 1, 2014, statewide clean air regulations will require ships operating within 24 nautical miles of the California coastline to use fuel with a reduced sulfur content limited to 0.1 percent or less. The same standard will take effect throughout North America on Jan. 1, 2015.