California At-Berth Regulation advisory becomes effective in January 2017

Shipping fleets have two options to ensure they comply with the new regulation.

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Updated on 09 Nov 2016 11:54 GMT

California's Air Resources Board (ARB) has issued an advisory to inform shipping firms about the enforcement of the 'Airborne Toxic Control Measure for Auxiliary Diesel Engines Operated on Ocean-Going Vessels At-Berth in a California Port', also referred to as the 'At-Berth Regulation' (ABR), which is to be implemented on 1st January 2017.

As of 1st January 2017, the rule will supersede previous advisories (from December 2013 and March 2015) regarding the At-Berth Regulation.

Regulation summary

ARB's At-Berth Regulation is intended to reduce emissions of diesel particulate matter (PM) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) from auxiliary engines on ocean-going vessels while at-berth at California ports.

The ABR applies to container and refrigerated cargo ship fleets whose vessels cumulatively make twenty-five or more visits annually and passenger-ship fleets whose vessels cumulatively make five or more visits annually to the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, San Diego, San Francisco and Hueneme.

Fleets can comply with the regulation via one of two options:

- The reduced onboard power generation option: Turn off auxiliary engines and connect the vessel to some other source of power, most likely land/grid-based shore-power.

- The alternative equivalent emissions reduction option: Use alternative control technology that achieves equivalent emission reductions.

The regulation requires fleets complying under the reduced onboard power generation option to satisfy the following two criteria from 1st January 2017:

- Visits: At least 70 percent of a fleet's visits to a port must satisfy the following limit on engine operation: for each visit, the auxiliary engines on the vessel cannot operate for more than three hours during the entire time the vessel is at berth (e.g. a shore power visit); and

- Power Reductions: The fleet's total onboard auxiliary engine power generation must be reduced by at least 70 percent from the fleet's baseline power generation.

Fleets that comply by adhering to the equivalent emission reduction option must reduce NOx and PM by 70 percent or more through use of an ARB-approved technology.

On January 1, 2020, the requirements under the existing regulation increase to 80 percent for the visit, power reduction, and equivalent emission reduction requirements.

Flexibility: six scenarios

The ARB has listed six possible scenarios where vessels may not be able to fully comply with the ABR and where a degree of flexibility may be granted on a case-by-case basis. They are:

1. The vessel visiting the port is equipped to receive shore power, but the terminal's shore power berth is not able to provide shore power.

2. A vessel makes a commissioning visit to a terminal, and during the visit, the auxiliary engines operate longer than three hours.

3. A vessel uses shore power, but fails to meet the three/five-hour time limit for connecting or disconnecting shore power.

4. Vessels are using an approved alternative control technology to comply with the At-Berth Regulation.

5. Fleet participates in testing an alternative control technology with an ARB-approved test plan.

6. A fleet meets the percent reduction requirements for visits, power, or emissions, averaged on an annual basis.