Port of LA wants to add incentives for “green” vessels

ESI is an international web-based ship-rating system ports can use to promote clean ships by rewarding operators whose vessels exceed current environmental performance standards and regulations

By Patrick Burnson · November 22, 2011

The Port of Los Angeles is working with the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) to develop incentive program strategies to participate in the Environmental Ship Index (ESI) Program starting in 2012. 

ESI is an international web-based ship-rating system ports can use to promote clean ships by rewarding operators whose vessels exceed current environmental performance standards and regulations.

“We are hoping that this will be the start to give BCO’s (beneficial cargo owners) a voice on where cargo is routed,” said ports spokesman, Phillip Sanfield.“We believe that there should be a financial reward given to ports and carriers for doing the right thing.”

Port staff presented an outline of the program to the Board of Harbor Commissioners last week and expects to submit recommendations for participation in the program to the Board by early 2012.

The announcement comes on the fifth anniversary of the port’s adoption of the Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP), landmark pollution reduction initiative whose measures have helped to cut harmful air emissions from port-related sources in the San Pedro Bay by as much as 76 percent.

The CAAP was designed as a blueprint for charting a permanent course for the Port of Los Angeles to operate the cleanest, most environmentally sustainable port. In 2010, the port reaffirmed its commitment to the CAAP by expanding its programs and setting more aggressive targets with near-term goals through 2014 and long-term objectives through 2023.

“The Port of Los Angeles is looking forward to being part of these international standards and setting the stage for North American ports to follow suit and reward operators for greening their fleets,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Geraldine Knatz, Ph.D. and IAPH president. “As participation grows, the benefits increase for carriers and communities.”

The Port of Los Angeles adopted the CAAP to help tackle harmful emissions in the South Coast Air Basin. After launching the CAAP in 2006, the port has met or exceeded nearly all its goals for reducing air pollution from port-related sources. Ships remain the toughest challenge, as they are regulated by international convention and represent the single largest source of air pollution from port-related operations.

The ESI identifies voluntary engine, fuel and technology enhancements ships can use to exceed current environmental performance standards. The ESI targets primary pollutants, which include nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur oxides (SOx), and diesel particulate matter (DPM). The program also contains a component to help reduce greenhouse gases.  The index was developed by some of the world’s major ports collaborating under the World Ports Climate Initiative, a project of the IAPH.

Nine European ports in the Netherlands, Norway, Germany, Belgium and Italy have signed on to participate in the ESI and either have current programs or are in the process of developing programs to offer financial incentives to reward operators whose ships outperform environmental standards.


About the Author

Patrick Burnson
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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