CARB approves new regulation to further reduce pollution from ocean-going vessels while docked at California’s busiest ports

Statement from the The California Air Resources Board regarding new regulations aimed at further reducing pollution from ocean-going vessels while docked at California’s busiest ports. Published 8/28/2020.

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Highlights: 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. The updated rule adds new vessel categories which will be required to control pollution when they run auxiliary engines or auxiliary boilers (for most tanker vessels) while docked.

These auxiliary engines power the electricity and other onboard operations during a vessel’s visit, which can run from less than one day to several days.

Vessels covered under the existing regulation include container ships, “reefers” (carrying refrigerated cargo) and cruise ships. The updated regulation adds auto carriers and tankers, two categories that produce 56% of all fine particulate pollution (PM2.5) from ocean-going vessels at berth in California ports. Once fully implemented, the updated regulation will 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.

Ship owners, terminal and port operators that need additional time to comply may petition the Board to use alternative means of achieving equivalent or greater emissions reductions in port-adjacent communities. An example would be purchasing zero-emission heavy-duty trucks for port use. Proposed projects will require extensive community review as well as CARB approval.