Maersk Line has announced that the company’s environmental initiative to switch to cleaner fuel at North American West Coast ports has reached the milestone of the 1000th vessel call. 111 vessels have participated since the program inception in 2006. The initiative has reduced Maersk Line fleet’s vessel-related air emissions by over 2,400 tons when calling the ports of Los Angeles and Oakland in California (US), Tacoma in Washington (US) and Vancouver in Canada. Maersk Line’s pilot program is part of the company’s on-going commitment to environmentally responsible operations. The program has been aligned with and supports the significant air quality improvement efforts by the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California’s Goods Movement Action Plan, the California Air Resources Board initiatives and the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy to improve air quality in these ports.
This continuing initiative provides substantial reductions in key pollutants that have potential health effects. Maersk Line has achieved an 86% annual reduction in particulate matter, a 95% reduction in sulphur oxides (SOx), and a 12% reduction in nitrogen oxides (NOx). The first vessel that performed the fuel switch was SINE MÆRSK in Los Angeles on March 31, 2006. There were 212 switches in 2006, 351 in 2007, 425 in 2008 and 12 through January 20, 2009.
Maersk Line voluntarily switches from “bunker” fuel with relatively high sulphur content to low-sulphur distillate fuel on the main and auxiliary engines of its vessels while underway in port areas and in the auxiliaries while in California ports, and in the auxiliary engines while at dock in Tacoma and Vancouver. The details of the program vary depending on geography and specific port programs. The fuel switch enables the ports to achieve immediate emissions reductions, unlike shore-side power programs such as cold ironing that take years to implement on this scale. The company continues to research and develop a variety of vessel energy efficiencies and emission reduction technologies despite the changes of the economic outlook.
"In 2006, Maersk Line took an unprecedented step to reduce vessel air emissions by voluntarily converting to a lower polluting diesel fuel in our main and auxiliary engines in these ports,” said Dr. Lee Kindberg, Director of the Environment for North America, Maersk Inc. “Maersk Line is convinced that mobile ship emission control solutions like fuel switches and catalytic converters provide great promise in effectively reducing emissions from ships in port areas. Mobile solutions can be implemented relatively rapidly, require no expensive shore infrastructure and do not shift emissions to other sources of power. This initiative has provided immediate air quality benefits at no cost to the taxpayer and without shifting air pollution to another source”, she continued.
"Congratulations to Maersk Line for completing the 1000th vessel call to west coast ports using cleaner fuels. By voluntarily switching to low-sulphur distillate fuel, you have become the environmental leader in the shipping industry. California is a healthier state due to your commitment to cleaner air quality," said Alan Lowenthal, California State Senator (Chair, Senate Transportation and Housing Committee).
Maersk Line (maerskline.com) has received numerous awards for these efforts including the Clean Air Excellence Award from the San Pedro Bay Ports; the Clean Air Award for the Advancement of Air Pollution Technology from the South Coast Air Quality Management District; the Clean Air Leadership Award from the Coalition of Clean Air; and the Carrie Chapman Catt Leadership Award from the League of Women Voters of Los Angeles. The Port Metro Vancouver administers a Differentiated Harbor Dues Program that “promotes attainable emissions reduction goals for ocean-going vessels and rewards those who excel in environmental stewardship”. Maersk Line has attained a Gold designation in this emission reduction program. Maersk Line is also participating in the Ports of Long Angeles/Long Beach Vessel Speed Reduction Program and the Main Engine Fuel Switch Incentive Program.
The cost of the program to Maersk Line has been over USD 18 million to date.
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