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Workshop to Discuss Low Sulfur Fuel

Shipping lines to talk about experience with clean fuel

May 13, 2008

The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will hold a workshop on the recently adopted Vessel Main Engine Fuel Incentive Program Wednesday, May 21, from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Port of Los Angeles Board Room, located at 425 S. Palos Verdes St., San Pedro.   

The meeting will be an opportunity for shipping lines, vessel agents, terminal operators, and any other interested parties to learn about the Incentive Program's benefits, and enrollment procedures, guidelines and restrictions.  Additionally, vessel operators will discuss their experiences with low-sulfur fuel. Port staff will be on hand to answer questions and take feedback on the Program. 

For those who would like to participate but cannot attend in person:
-- Listen to a live broadcast by calling (310) 519-7248,
-- Or view a live webcast by going to: http://www.portoflosangeles.org/commission/videos.asp.
-- And submit questions by calling (866) 230-1127 (passcode: 7075528).     
 
On March 24th the Long Beach and Los Angeles harbor commissioners approved the Incentive Program aimed at accelerating cargo vessel operators' use of cleaner-burning fuel when transiting within 40 miles of San Pedro Bay and at berth in either port.  As part of the program the ports will earmark nearly $19 million dollars to pay vessel operators to use cleaner-burning, low-sulfur fuel in their main propulsion engines. Sulfur oxides, which contribute to the formation of health-threatening soot or particulate matter, will be cut by as much as 11 percent and particulate matter by 9 percent, accelerating air-quality improvements ahead of an already aggressive schedule set by the landmark San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan.
 
Under the program, the ports will pay the difference between the price of bunker fuel and more costly low-sulfur distillate fuel for vessel operators who make the fuel switch within at least 20 miles -- and as far as 40 miles -- from the ports.  Vessels also will be required to use low-sulfur fuel in their auxiliary engines while at berth in the port complex. To qualify for the incentive program, the ships must participate in the ports' voluntary Vessel Speed Reduction Program, limiting speeds to 12 knots during approach and departure. Most ships already participate in the speed reduction program, which also curbs emissions.

The one-year program will begin July 1 and expire June 30, 2009, unless extended by the two commissions.  On July 1, 2009, a pending California Air Resources Board regulation would require the use of low-sulfur fuel in cargo vessels' main propulsion engines within 24 nautical miles of the state's coast. The ports' Clean Air Action Plan also calls for the ports to accelerate ship-emission reductions by including lease-based limits on sulfur content in fuel. This is still planned. The incentive program is aimed at reducing more emissions on an even faster schedule.

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