Six shipping carriers have become the inaugural participants in the Port of Los Angeles Environmental Ship Index (ESI), an international clean air program that rewards ocean carriers for bringing their newest and cleanest vessels to the Port. Developed through the International Association of Ports & Harbors’ World Ports Climate Initiative, the ESI program is the first of its kind in North America and the Pacific Rim.
The web-based ESI program, already underway at 14 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).
Shipping carriers 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.
Ocean going vessels (OGVs) are the single largest source of Southern California goods movement air emissions and they make up approximately half of all port-related air emissions. Since 2005, voluntary emission reduction programs have yielded substantial reductions. However, based on current forecasts, the Port needs additional emission reductions to meet emission reduction goals established in the Clean Air Action Plan. By 2023, this plan calls for 77% diesel PM reductions and 59% NOx reductions.
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.
Initially, up to 30% of the ships calling at the Port are expected to qualify for the ESI incentives. Thirty percent participation would cut diesel particulate matter (DPM) emissions by 16 tons within the first year and reduce emissions of other primary pollutants, namely nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur oxides (SOx) and carbon dioxide (CO2). The Port has committed $450,000 to jumpstart the program.
The Port of Los Angeles’ ESI program is also an opportunity for vessel operators to get ahead of more stringent environmental requirements before they become mandatory. On 1 Jan 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% or less.
Under an Emissions Control Area established by international agreement, the same standard will take effect throughout North America on 1 Jan 2015. As these requirements take effect, the Port will encourage ocean carriers to continue to reduce vessel emissions by raising the bar to qualify for its ESI incentives.