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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

LA Area Ports Partnering with Maersk on Environmental Initiative

By Mark Edward Nero

The ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles said Nov. 7 that they’ve launched a partnership with shipping company Maersk Line to measure the environmental benefits of a $125 million upgrade for 12 Maersk container ships.

The partnership involves the installation of high-tech equipment to track vessel emissions and energy efficiency over the next three years, something that the three partners say would enable more transparency and ultimately reduce the environmental impact of vessels calling at the San Pedro Bay port complex.

The two ports are contributing a combined $1 million to real-time tracking systems that represent an industry-leading application to pinpoint vessel emissions while ships are at sea and at berth. Unprecedented in its scope and scale, the three-year data collection and analysis project, called “The Connected Vessel Programme,” builds on the $125 million Maersk Line has invested in its “radical retrofit” program to reduce fuel consumption and increase the capacity of the vessels that regularly call at the San Pedro Bay ports.

“This project is a vivid example of the deep commitment to environmental sustainability that we have grown to expect from our goods movement partners, as we all work together to create a healthier planet,” Port of Long Beach Interim CEO Duane Kenagy said in a statement. “We’re pleased to be a part of this project, and we hope it will serve as a model to encourage even more progress and creativity in emissions reductions from ocean-going vessels.”

The project will continuously record how much fuel each engine uses in conjunction with speed, engine power, weather and other operational variables through use of mass flow meters and an interface to the on-board Integrated Control System to capture performance data.

Information will be uploaded to Maersk Line servers via satellite, and each ship will be able to communicate in real-time with Maersk Line’s Global Vessel Performance Centre to increase operational efficiency.

“This is the equivalent of strapping a Fitbit onto a large container ship,” said Dr. Lee Kindberg, Director of Environment and Sustainability for Maersk Line.

“We’ll be tracking vessel performance and emissions 24/7. This advances our ability to reduce greenhouse gases and other pollutants on a global scale.”

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will split the $1 million cost under their joint Technology Advancement Program, which is a grant program created under the ports’ Clean Air Action Plan to accelerate the evaluation and demonstration of new and emerging clean technologies for reducing and ultimately eliminating harmful emissions from all port-related sources. Ships generate the lion’s share of air pollution associated with port activity.

“We are eager to do our part to advance fundamental change that will result in cleaner air for our surrounding communities and around the world,” Port of LA Executive Director Gene Seroka said.