Ships Reduce Speed for Cleaner Air at the Port of Long Beach

Port of long beach
Photo: Port of Long Beach

The Port of Long Beach is applauding the voluntary slow down of ships calling at the port as part of the Port’s Green Flag Incentive Program, which offers financial incentives for vessels to reduce speed near the port to reduce the amount of air pollution.

More than 135 shipping lines are now participating in the program requiring ships to slow to 12 knots or less within 20 or 40 nautical miles of the Port of Long Beach.

The Green Flag Incentive Program was launch by the Port in 2005. In addition to environmental incentives, it has also started including vessel speed limits for ships as a requirement of new leases with its terminal operator tenants.

It’s estimated that the slowing of cargo ships at the Port of Long Beach prevents the emission of 45,000 tons of greenhouse gases and 1,000 tons of general air pollutants each year, contributing to the Port’s comprehensive Clean Air Action Plan, according to the Port of Long Beach.

The port estimates that in 2018, 136 shipping lines met or exceeded the program’s required 90 percent participation rate at either 20 or 40 nautical miles. Within 20 nautical miles, 95.8 percent of vessels slowed down, while 91 percent slowed down within 40 nautical miles.

Ocean carriers achieving a 90 percent or higher compliance rate are eligible for a 25 percent reduction in dockage rates at the 40 nautical mile mark, while those slowing down within 20 nautical miles receive a 15 percent break in fees.

“Our shipping line partners play an important role in our efforts to improve air quality at the Port and our surrounding communities,” said Tracy Egoscue, President of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners. “We’ve made dramatic reductions in air pollution emissions thanks to the industry and its enthusiastic cooperation.”

“This voluntary initiative is a win-win by granting financial rewards to nearly all of our ocean carriers while also dramatically decreasing pollution at the Port,” Mario Cordero, Executive Director of the Port of Long Beach. “The Green Flag is a symbol of our collective environmental accomplishments and a commitment to maintain our worldwide reputation as the Green Port.”