The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners earlier this month approved changes to the port’s Green Ship Incentive Program, launched in 2012, that incorporate the international Environmental Ship Index (ESI). The ESI is a voluntary system that identifies seagoing ships exceeding the current emission standards of the International Maritime Organization.
Beginning July 1, 2021, the updated program will include three incentive levels ranging from $600 to $6,000, depending on a vessel’s ESI score. Vessels with main engines meeting International Maritime Organization’s Tier III standard, which require dedicated NOx emission control technologies, are eligible for an additional $3,000 credit, meaning a vessel could be eligible for up to $9,000 on every call.
The Green Ship Incentive Program has helped improve air quality at the port and neighboring communities by encouraging shipping lines to send their newest and cleanest oceangoing vessels. More than $1.7 million in incentives were paid to participants in 2020.
“Our goal is to increase participation in the already successful Green Ship Program by aligning it with international sustainable maritime transportation efforts,” said Harbor Commission President Frank Colonna. “These incentives are the largest offered to vessels and Tier III ships of any seaport, and we expect the update will have positive impacts in Long Beach and around the globe.”
Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero noted more than 50 ports worldwide and more than 8,000 vessels participate in the Environmental Ship Index.
“This change and offer of financial rewards gives operators even more reasons to be socially responsible and make investments in cleaner fuels, ship modifications or on-board technologies that improve air quality beyond required standards,” said Cordero.
As one of the main gateways for trans-Pacific trade, the Port of Long Beach is the nation’s second busiest seaport behind its neighbor at the San Pedro Bay Port complex, the Port of Los Angeles. With 175 shipping lines connecting Long Beach to 217 seaports, the Port of Long Beach handles $200 billion in trade annually, supporting more than 575,000 Southern California jobs.