More than 135 shipping lines at the Port of Long Beach recently were lauded for voluntarily participating in the Port’s Green Flag Incentive Program, which offers financial incentives for cargo vessels to slow down near the port to reduce air pollution.
Ocean carriers were recently presented with Green Flags for opting into the environmental initiative last year by slowing ships to 12 knots or less within 20 or 40 nautical miles of the Port of Long Beach.
The Green Flag Incentive Program was initiated by the Port in 2005. Since then, in addition to the incentives, the Port has also started including vessel speed reduction for ships as a requirement of new leases with its terminal operator tenants.
It’s estimated that the slowing of cargo ships at the Port of Long Beach prevents the emission of 45,000 tons of greenhouse gases and 1,000 tons of general air pollutants each year, contributing to the Port’s comprehensive Clean Air Action Plan.
“Our shipping line partners play an important role in our efforts to improve air quality at the Port and our surrounding communities,” said Tracy Egoscue, President of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners. “We’ve made dramatic reductions in air pollution emissions thanks to the industry and its enthusiastic cooperation.”
In 2018, 136 shipping lines met or exceeded the program’s required 90 percent participation rate at either 20 or 40 nautical miles. Within 20 nautical miles, 95.8% of vessels slowed down, while 91.14% slowed down within 40 nautical miles.
Ocean carriers achieving a 90 percent or higher compliance rate are eligible for a 25 percent reduction in dockage rates at the 40 nautical mile mark, while those slowing down within 20 nautical miles receive a 15 percent break in fees.
“This voluntary initiative is a win-win by granting financial rewards to nearly all of our ocean carriers while also dramatically decreasing pollution at the Port,” Mario Cordero, Executive Director of the Port of Long Beach. “The Green Flag is a symbol of our collective environmental accomplishments and a commitment to maintain our worldwide reputation as the Green Port.”