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Mayor, Port Push IMO for Global Green Standards

International Maritime Organization summit part of trade mission

April 16, 2008

 

LONDON, England -- Wrapping up a two-week European trade mission, Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster, and Port of Long Beach officials met April 11, 2008 with the head of the International Maritime Organization's environmental section to discuss the IMO's recent ruling on clean ship fuels and push for tougher global standards.

The IMO is responsible, under United Nations charter, for monitoring global shipping and maritime concerns. The IMO has asked member countries to ratify amendments to an international law (MARPOL Annex VI) that would set uniform global fuels standard and other maritime environmental initiatives. The IMO has asked member countries to ratify the new amendments to Annex VI by October 2008. 

"With these major decisions coming in a matter of months, we felt it was crucial that we urge the IMO to adopt tougher environmental standards that will benefit Long Beach and other port communities throughout the world," said Mayor Foster.

Mayor Foster and the Port delegation also shared information about the Port's low-sulfur fuel incentive plan recently adopted by the Board of Harbor Commissioners. 

"While the Port of Long Beach's low-sulfur fuel program and other initiatives are more aggressive than the IMO's plan, the Annex VI agreement would represent a major step forward in 'greening' the maritime industry on a global level," said Harbor Commission President Mario Cordero, who was part of the trade delegation. 

The trade mission was aimed at furthering a worldwide, collaborative network of environmentally friendly seaports and promoting the Port of Long Beach's "green" initiatives on a global stage.

The trade mission included visits to the major European ports of Hamburg and Rotterdam, where Port officials signed an agreement to share best environmental practices, work together on ways to reduce greenhouse gases and promote environmentally sustainable seaport technologies. 

The delegation met with multiple European shipping companies that use the Port of Long Beach to discuss the Port's latest environmental initiatives under the Green Port Policy and Clean Air Action Plan. The mission also included a stop in Geneva, Switzerland, where officials met with the United Nations Environmental Programme to discuss global warming initiatives.

The delegation included Mayor Foster, Harbor Commissioners Cordero and Nick Sramek, Port Executive Director Richard D. Steinke, Executive Officer to the Board Alex Cherin and Trade Relations Director Don Snyder. 

It was the first time since 2004 that Port commissioners and other high-ranking city officials have conducted a trade mission to Europe. 

In 2007, the Port signed a similar Memorandum of Understanding environmental agreement with Port of Shenzhen terminal operator Yantian International Container Terminals. Also that year, the Port signed an environmental exchange accord with the federal government of Mexico, which operates Mexico's seaports. 

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