The Port of Long Beach honored 14 top shipping lines who earned the coveted “best of the best” honors in the Port’s annual Green Flag Awards for environmental achievement.
The Port’s Green Flag vessel speed reduction program gives incentives for ship operators to slow down near the harbor and reduce air pollution. In 2009, the program helped reduce about 2,000 tons of pollution as 95 percent of vessels slowed down within a 20 nautical mile zone around the Port. Extra incentives are given to ships to slow down within 40 nautical miles.
“We’ve gone from slightly more than half a few years ago to nearly everyone participating now,” Port of Long Beach Executive Director Richard D. Steinke said during a ceremony in downtown Long Beach. “We’re now into the fifth year, and the Green Flag program has been an overwhelming success.”
Harbor Commissioner Mario Cordero said “It’s hard to believe that it’s been more than five years since we adopted our Green Port Policy in 2005, making environmental protection one of our top priorities. We were the first port in the world to set such a plan in action - and action is the operative word.”
Nearly 150 carriers participated in the voluntary program last year, but the 14 companies honored =represented a select group of ocean carriers who achieved at least 90 percent participation by their fleets. These lines made more than 1,100 calls at the Port in 2009 and accounted for about 55 percent of all the voyages.
The “Green Flag Top” include:
- Matson Navigation
- Orient Overseas Container Line
- CMA CGM
- Hanjin Shipping
- “K” Line
- MSC (Mediterranean Shipping Company)
- Hamburg Sud North America, Inc.
- Hyundai Merchant Marine
- Zim American Integrated Shipping Services
- Wan Hai Lines
Wan Hai Lines achieved 100 percent participation within the extended 40-nautical-mile zone. In 2009, nearly 70 percent of ships slowed within 40 nautical miles. Earlier this year, the Board of Harbor Commissioners approved another $3 million to encourage more vessel operators to slow their ships within 40 nautical miles of the Port. The expanded incentives could reduce an additional 300 tons of pollution.
Under the Green Flag program, the Port offers discounted dockage fees and environmental awards to vessel operators and individual ships that participate in the program.