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Port of Los Angeles expands ship emissions reduction incentive program

Staff Writer | July 31, 2017
The Port of Los Angeles is expanding its rewards programs for vessel operators that the port says are “willing to go above and beyond regulatory standards” to cut harmful vessel emissions.
The Port of Los Angeles
Shipping   Diesel particulate matter emissions
Under a new formula that took effect July 1, vessel operators participating in the Environmental Ship Index program now also earn incentive points for reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from their ships.

Vessel operators participating in ESI programs already earn points for reducing nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur oxides (SOx), both key components of smog.

Reduced CO2 emissions are being calculated by comparing a ship’s fuel consumption and the distance sailed each year for 2013, 2014 and 2015 with the same data for 2016. If sailing in 2016 was more efficient than the baseline years, vessel operators have lowered CO2 emissions and increased their total score.

ESI programs use a point system based on fuel purchases, onboard emissions reduction technologies, and a ship’s engine rating according to standards established by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The total points determine if a ship qualifies for an incentive grant from a participating port.

Typically, vessel operators earn points on a per call basis from each port in the ESI network. Under the new formula, participating operators calling at the Port of Los Angeles that have been entering CO2 data and show an improvement over the baseline years could see these additional points boost their scores as early as September.

The ESI program is among the suite of clean air strategies the Port of Los Angeles has implemented to dramatically reduce vessel emissions between 2005 and 2015.

For ships alone, overall diesel particulate matter (DPM) emissions have dropped 87 percent, NOx emissions are down 29 percent, and SOx emissions have plummeted 97 percent, nearing total elimination, according to port data.

Under the incentive plan, a vessel with a score of 50 points or higher earns the operator $2,500 per call, and a score of 40 to 49 is rewarded with $750.

Additionally, a ship with a Tier III engine is eligible for a $5,000 incentive per call, and vessels participating in an approved technology advancement program demonstration project are eligible for $750 per call. Incentive grants are paid quarterly.

The ESI program, which was first launched by a collection of Northern European ports in 2011, rewards vessel operators for lowering ship emissions beyond international requirements and in advance of pending regulations. Incentive providers include ports, pilot organizations and other entities. The Port of Los Angeles adopted its ESI in 2012.

Currently, 50 incentive providers around the globe are ESI members, including eight ports in Asia and the Americas. As of April 1, nearly 5,500 ships – almost 11 percent of the global merchant fleet – are registered in the program.