Ports’ distillate fuel plan is official

The Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach officially adopted an incentive scheme for ships to use distillate fuel in the port area.

“This joint effort demonstrates once again that these two ports are world leaders in aggressively and dramatically advancing environmental protection,” said Los Angeles Harbor Commission President S. David Freeman. Under the scheme, the two port authorities will subsidize shipowners to use distillate fuel instead of fuel oil bunkers in the main engines of their ships. Sulphur oxides (SOx) will be cut by as much as 11% and particulate matter (PM) by 9%, according to their figures. “Ships are the No. 1 pollution source here at the ports and we don’t want to keep waiting for state regulations to kick in,”said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Mario Cordero. Next year, regulations making distillate fuel mandatory are expected to be in place, introduced by the California Air Resources Board (ARB). The incentive program is expected to cost the two ports around $18.5 million and will be a one-year program starting July 1 and expiring June 30, 2009 – unless extended by the two commissions. “This program will incentivize our customers to start the process of switching over to low-sulphur fuel well ahead of future state emissions rules,” said Los Angeles port Executive Director Dr. Geraldine Knatz. To qualify for the incentive scheme, the ships must also participate in the ports’ voluntary Vessel Speed Reduction Program, limiting speeds to 12 knots.

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