Shipping lines sign up to low-sulphur initiative

Cargo vessel operators agree to take part in San Pedro Bay low-sulphur incentive program.

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Updated on 10 Jul 2008 08:02 GMT

A number of shipping lines have already agreed to take part in the San Pedro Bay Ports' incentive program, which aims to reduce ship emissions within the vicinity of the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.

The new Vessel Main Engine Fuel Incentive Program, which began on July 1st, will pay vessel operators for the extra cost of switching to cleaner-burning low sulphur marine fuel (0.2 percent sulphur or less) within the San Pedro Bay area in an initiative which aims to reduce vessel emissions.

Vessels participating in the project will use low sulphur marine gasoil (MGO) in their main engines during their approach to or departure from the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, out to 20 or 40 nautical miles from Point Fermin. The ports will provide funding to cover the cost differential between the cleaner burning low-sulfur fuel and the heavy bunker fuel typically used.

According to Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Geraldine Knatz, the number of participating companies has increased significantly since the end of May, when only two shipping lines had committed to the program. Knatz credited Michele Grubbs of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association for promoting the voluntary Clean Air Action Plan initiative.

The 12 participating shipping lines represent 119 of 247 ship calls, Knatz said.

The one-year program will come to an end on June 30th 2009, unless extended by the harbour commissions of Long Beach and Los Angeles. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) main engine regulation is then expected to come into effect after the incentive programme expires. Long Beach has budgeted $9.9 million a year for the project whilst Los Angeles has allocated $8.6 million.

To receive the incentive, vessel operators must also be complaint with the Vessel Speed Reduction Program, where ships voluntarily slow down to 12 knots near the harbor, thereby reducing their fuel consumption and emissions.

In order to be eligible for the incentive, vessel operators must first enroll in the program and register the specific vessels that will be participating in the project. Enrollments will be accepted at any time, whilst the program is in effect.

The various enrollment forms can be found at the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Action Plan website, which is located at

All documents should be submitted to the ports by email to Vessel Operators will be notified when they have been enrolled in the program.