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Port Honors Shipping Lines with Green Flags

14 major fleets recognized for environmental leadership

April 9, 2009

Fourteen top  shipping lines earned coveted "best of the best" honors from the Port of Long Beach on April 9, 2009, in the annual Green Flag Awards that recognize the ocean carriers for environmental achievement.

The winners represent many of the largest ocean cargo carriers to call at the Port, where the Green Flag vessel speed reduction program urges ship operators to slow down near the harbor to reduce air pollution.

More than 650 tons of air pollution was eliminated by the program in 2008, when 150 shipping lines with 600 ships voluntarily participated and earned Green Flag incentives. Thursday's honorees were the top performers among those cargo lines, making at least 50 calls and complying with the 12-knot speed limit at least 90 percent of the time.

"Your ships have made the greatest impact on improving air quality," Richard D. Steinke, Port of Long Beach Executive Director, told the ocean carriers. "Thanks to all of you, for embracing the Green Flag vessel speed reduction program."

Under the Green Flag program, the Port offers discounted dockage fees and environmental awards to vessel operators who achieve compliance rates of 90 percent or better and Green Flags to individual ships that have 100 percent compliance with the program for a year. 

Among all the ships calling at the Port, speed-reduction compliance increased from 89 percent in 2007 to an impressive 93 percent in 2008.

The companies honored Monday were those that achieved the highest rates of compliance and had the most vessel calls in 2008.

The "Green Flag Top 14" are:

  • Alaska Tanker
  • China Shipping Container Lines
  • COSCO or China Overseas Shipping Company
  • Hamburg Sud North America, Inc.
  • Hanjin Shipping
  • Hyundai Merchant Marine
  • "K" Line or Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha
  • Matson Navigation
  • Mediterranean Shipping Company
  • NYK or Nippon Yusen Kaisha
  • OOCL or Orient Overseas Container Line
  • Zim American Integrated Shipping Services Company, Inc.
  • And special honoree, Toyofuji Shipping (Toyofuji has had a perfect compliance rate in two of the last three years and the highest compliance rate over the last three years for vessel operators with 40 to 50 calls a year)
The Green Flag incentive program was started in 2005 to boost compliance with the voluntary vessel speed reduction program. In 2006 the compliance rate was 82 percent and increased to 89 percent in 2007.

Through 2008, vessels were asked to slow down within 20 nautical miles of the harbor. This year, the Port is encouraging ships to slow from 40 nm, to decrease air pollution further. Already, 60 percent of vessel operators participate in the expanded Green Flag program.

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