Maersk Line, Ports of LA & Long Beach in 3-year project to measure air pollution benefits from $125M eco-upgrade; real-time tracking 24x7
Shipping company Maersk Line and the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are partnering to measure the environmental benefits of a $125-million upgrade for 12 Maersk container ships. This will involve the installation of high-tech equipment to track vessel emissions and energy efficiency over the next three years, enabling more transparency and ultimately reducing 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.
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 Integrated Control System (ICS) on-board to capture key 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 (GVPC) to increase operational efficiency.
This is the equivalent of strapping a Fitbit onto a large container ship. 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.—Dr. Lee Kindberg, Director of Environment and Sustainability for Maersk Line
The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will split the $1 million cost under their joint Technology Advancement Program (TAP). TAP is a grant program created under the ports’ landmark 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.
Under its “radical retrofit” program, Maersk Line upgraded vessels that already plug into shore power at the San Pedro Bay ports. The additional improvements include redesigning the bulbous bow of each vessel, replacing existing propellers with more efficient models, and “derating” the main engines to make them more efficient at lower speeds.
The retrofit program also involved raising the bridge to increase each ship’s capacity from about 9,500 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) to about 11,000 TEUs. This allows Maersk Line to carry more containers per vessel while decreasing their environmental impact per container moved.
The energy efficiency makeover is expected to decrease each ship’s fuel consumption by more than 10%, saving an estimated 10,000 metric tons of fuel on an annual basis. This would reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by an estimated 31,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year and lead to similar reductions of diesel particulate matter (DPM), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur oxides (SOx). A single ton of CO2 would fill a 1,400-square-foot house.
Since 2007, Maersk Line has reduced GHG emissions associated with its vessel operations by 42% on a per container, per kilometer basis. The Retrofits and TAP demonstration project with the San Pedro Bay ports will help Maersk Line reach its goal of a 60% reduction of CO2 and other pollutants by 2020.
Both the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach continue to pursue aggressive clean air programs with the goal of eliminating all harmful emissions from port-related sources. Over the last decade, DPM emissions have declined as much as 85%, NOx emissions have been cut in half, SOx emissions have plummeted 97%, and GHG emissions are down an average of 12%, based on the latest annual inventories that measure the impact of the San Pedro Bay ports’ pollution-reducing strategies.
The Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach are the two largest ports in the nation, first and second respectively, and combined are the ninth-largest port complex in the world. The two ports handle approximately 40% of the nation’s total containerized import traffic and 25% of its total exports. Trade that flows through the San Pedro Bay ports complex generates more than 3 million jobs nationwide.
Maersk Line is the world’s largest container shipping company.