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California expands shore power requirements to more vessel types

Photo: Joshua Sukoff - Unsplash Joshua Sukoff - Unsplash.jpg
The US California Air Resources Board (CARB) has expanded a regulation on the use of shore power by ships while at berth to include more types of vessels.

The updated regulation has added auto carriers and tankers, two categories that produce 56% of all fine particulate pollution from ocean-going vessels at berth in California ports.

At present, the vessel types covered under the existing regulation include containerships, reefers and cruise ships.

The existing regulation stays in force through 2022; the updated regulation starts in 2023 when container, reefer and cruise vessels – already included under the existing rule - will transition to the new regulation. Auto carriers will need to comply starting in 2025. Tankers docking at the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach must also comply starting in 2025, while tankers in Northern California have until 2027.

“This rule clamps down on air pollution from the largest ships while they’re docked in California ports, and there are multiple ways terminals, ports, ship owners and operators can comply," said CARB chair Mary D. Nichols. “The action CARB took today will deliver cleaner air and public health benefits to all those who live in port-adjacent communities throughout California.”

Once fully implemented, the updated regulation is anticipated to deliver a 90% reduction in pollution from an expected additional 2,300 vessel visits per year, and result in a 55% reduction in potential cancer risk for communities near the Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Richmond.

The rule builds on progress achieved by the At-Berth Regulation adopted in 2007. That rule has achieved an 80% reduction in harmful emissions from more than 13,000 vessel visits since 2014.

Shore power, or cold ironing, allows ships to get their power from electricity and stop burning bunker fuels while at berth, helping to reduce harmful emissions such as particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides, and greenhouse gases.

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