The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners this week approved a Port incentive program aimed at improving air quality by attracting the world's newest and cleanest vessels. The Green Ship Award Program will pay operators as much as $6,000 per ship visit for bringing the vessels with the cleanest engines to Long Beach.
“This program creates an award system that will encourage the deployment of today’s greenest ships to the Port of Long Beach, and accelerate the use of tomorrow’s greenest ships,” said Port Executive Director J. Christopher Lytle.
The program is similar to the Green Flag initiative the Port introduced in 2005 to incentivize ships to slow down for improved air quality. Green Flag participation is now more than 95 percent.
Under the new Green Ship program, vessels with main engines meeting Tier 2 or Tier 3 standards established by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will be eligible for incentives ranging from $2,500 to $6,000 per ship call.
The program specifically targets reductions of smog-causing nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions, which can affect respiratory health. Tier 2 engines reduce NOx emissions by 15 percent, and Tier 3 will reduce NOx by 80 percent.
Tier 2 engines were introduced beginning in 2011, and Tier 3 engines will be introduced in 2016. The Green Ship program’s goal is to have, by 2023, 50 percent of all ship calls at the Port of Long Beach be from Tier 2 vessels, and 40 percent from Tier 3, which would reduce NOx emissions from ships by 2,700 tons a year.
The Port will recognize the top performing shipping lines with a Green Ship Award acknowledging their commitment to environmental stewardship.
Ships are the leading source of air pollution at the Port. So, the Port is also building shore power facilities so vessels can plug in for their electricity while at berth.
“We’ve been very aggressive when it comes to reducing air pollution, and we’ve succeeded in reducing diesel emissions from all Port sources by 72 percent since 2005,” Lytle said. “But there’s still more to be done, and the Green Ship incentives will help us get even closer to our long-term air quality goals for the Port.”