Port of Los Angeles Adopts Environmental Ship Index

The Port of Los Angeles is the first seaport in North America and the Pacific Rim to adopt an international clean air program that rewards ocean carriers for bringing their newest, most efficient vessels to the Port.

The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners today formally approved an Environmental Ship Index program that goes into effect July 1.

The Index is a web-based tool developed by the World Ports Climate Initiative, a project of the International Association of Ports and Harbors. The Port has committed $450,000 to jumpstart the program. Vessels receive money based on how efficient they are.

Already underway at 14 European ports, the Index  rewards vessel operators for making voluntary engine, fuel and technology upgrades that reduce ship emissions beyond  regulatory environmental standards set by the International Maritime Organization.

Ocean going vessels are the single-largest source of air pollution in the movement of goods in Southern California and are responsible for 50% of all port-related air emissions. Worldwide, they account for 3% of greenhouse gas emissions.

Since 2005, voluntary emission reduction programs have yielded substantial reductions at the Port in Diesel particulate matter (68%) and sulfur oxide emissions (74%).

However, based on current forecasts, the Port needs additional emission reductions to meet goals established in the Clean Air Action Plan. By 2023, the plan calls for 77% Diesel particulate matter reductions and 59% NOx reductions.

Initially, 30% of the ships calling at the Port are expected to qualify for Index incentives. That would cut diesel particulate matter emissions by 16 tons in the first year and reduce emissions of nitrogen and sulfur oxides and carbon. 

"The Index sets the gold standard for green shipping and we encourage other ports to follow suit," says Port Executive Director Geraldine Knatz Ph.D. "The larger success of this program lies in its adoption by as many ports as possible to increase the rewards for operators willing to invest in clean air and maximize the health benefits for everyone."

The Port of Los Angeles developed the Index 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.

Meanwhile, the cruise ship industry won the "Dinosaur of the Year" Award because of its notorious unregulated emissions and garbage disposal … directly into the ocean.

Here’s a fact sheet on the Index:

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