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Green Flag Rate Nears 90%

Vessel Speed Reduction Improves Air Quality

October 26, 2006

Compliance with the Port’s Green Flag air quality program jumped again, to 87.3 percent in August, the highest monthly compliance rate yet. The Green Flag program rewards ship operators for reducing vessel speeds in the harbor, which helps curb air pollution.

In the most current available figures, car carriers led the way with a perfect 100 percent compliance rate in August, cruise ships were at a 91.7 percent compliance rate, followed by container ships at 88.6 percent, bulk vessels at 82.8% and tankers at 80.6 percent.

In February 2006, the Board of Harbor Commissioners approved the Green Flag incentive program to encourage higher compliance with the voluntary ship speed reduction program, which has been in place since 2001. In February the compliance rate was about 65 percent. The figures for the year through August show a combined compliance rate of 80.5 percent. 

The Port’s Green Flag goal is 100 percent compliance, which would reduce smog-forming nitrogen oxides (NOx) by nearly 500 tons a year.

Under the Green Flag program, ships that observe a 12-knot speed limit within 20 miles of the Port during an entire year of voyages are awarded Green Flags to recognize their contributions to improved air quality. Ocean carriers, who operate the individual ships, can qualify for reduced dockage rates if 90 percent or more of their vessels comply with the speed limit for a year.

To see the full results of the Green Flag program, click here.

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