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Incentive Programs Help Cut Emissions, Increase Trade

November 19, 2014


Ocean carriers and cargo owners have plenty of reasons to send cargo through the Port of Long Beach, given its record of industry-leading productivity, deep water, big ship capacity and prime Pacific Rim location. With its robust connections to the nation’s freight transportation system, Long Beach is the ideal gateway for trans-Pacific trade.

But Long Beach also believes in offering special value to shipping lines for two goals: to improve the environment and to bring more trade to Long Beach.

“Our incentive programs make it easier for vessel operators to help the Port meet environmental goals by offering real savings. Two incentives introduced earlier this year are designed to increase trade while also reducing air pollution,” said Doug Drummond, President of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners.

Ocean carriers can chose from a menu of voluntary programs. And some of the more established of these programs – especially the Green Flag Vessel Speed Reduction Program – have already contributed to the decline in air pollution emissions. Since 2005, Long Beach has cut diesel emissions by 82 percent, sulfur oxides by 90 percent and nitrogen oxides by 54 percent.

The success of these programs wouldn’t be possible without the commitment of the ocean carriers. “We greatly appreciate what our business partners have done to improve air quality for Long Beach and beyond. This is a true win-win built on a strong partnership with our customers,” Drummond added. 

Here is an overview of the Port’s current incentives:

Incremental On-Dock Intermodal Incentive Program

The Port’s Incremental On-Dock Incentive Program was created in 2014. It offers shipping lines an incentive of $5 per loaded TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) for new cargo that is rail-hauled directly to or from the Port. While the industry gets the savings, the community enjoys reduced truck trips on local roadways thanks to the increased use of on-dock rail.

The Port has set the program to cover new cargo for all of 2014 and 2015. Not only do shipping lines earn incentives, but the Port of Long Beach and the Southern California economy benefit as well, thanks to the additional cargo.

Vessel Dockage Waiver Program

Long Beach’s Vessel Dockage Waiver Program provides “free parking” to ships via waived dockage charges for vessel operators who comply with this two-part program. The incentive is based upon existing Port of Long Beach efforts to improve air quality.

Set to run through June 2016, the incentive offers rewards for those vessels both slowing down to 12 knots within 40 nautical miles of the Port as part of the Green Flag Vessel Speed Reduction Program, and those using some means of eliminating their ship emissions while at berth, either a shore power connection for clean electricity, or an equivalent technology.

For more information on the Incremental On-Dock Intermodal Incentive and Vessel Dockage Waiver programs, please go to www.polb.com/incentives. For questions about how your shipping line can participate, contact Roger Wu, Assistant Director of Business Development, at (562) 283-7753 or Roger.Wu@polb.com.

Green Flag Program

The Port’s Green Flag Program launched in 2005 as a way to encourage shippers to reduce emissions by voluntarily reducing their speed to 12 knots or less within 20 nautical miles of the Port. Participation was strong from the start, and these days, is near universal, at more than 98 percent through the first nine months of 2014. A 40-nautical mile program was added a few years ago and has 89 percent participation.

Many vessel operators now participate as part of “green leases” governing the terminals they call at. In addition, participating vessel operators can earn discounts on dockage fees. For complying within 20 nm, the shipping lines can earn 15 percent off fees paid to the Port. For 40 nm, it’s 25 percent. The Port provided $2.8 million in dockage incentives in 2013 alone, also distributing more than 200 green flags for vessel operators to proudly display.

For more information, please go to www.polb.com/environment/air/greenflag.asp. Questions? Please contact the Port of Long Beach Business Development Division at (562) 283-7750.

Green Ship Incentive Program

The Port’s Green Ship Incentive Program – started in 2012 — rewards qualifying vessel operators for deploying today's greenest ships to the Port of Long Beach.

Vessels with main engines meeting 2011 Tier 2 standards established by the International Maritime Organization are eligible for an incentive of $2,500 per ship call. Eventually, those ships that will be still cleaner, and will meet 2016 Tier 3 standards. Then the incentive will increase to $6,000 per ship call. In 2013, eight shipping lines signed up, receiving a combined $460,000 in incentives.

In its first year, the Green Ship program prevented the emission of more than 20 tons of nitrogen oxide air pollution. The program has the potential to eliminate 500 tons a year of NOx.

Top participants of both the Green Flags and Green Ship programs are recognized at the Port’s annual Environmental Achievement Awards.

For more information and how to register for the Green Ship Incentive Program, go to www.polb.com/greenship. Send questions to greenship@polb.com.

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