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Ocean-Going Vessel Emission Reduction

Ocean-Going Vessel Emission Reduction Program References

Date Released

San Pedro Bay Ports Vessel Fuel Incentive Program Workshop May 2008
Workshop Presentation on the Vessel Main Engine Fuel Incentive Program May 2008
Workshop Presentation on the Low Sulfur Fuel Availability Study May 2008
Workshop MAN B&W Presentation May 2008
Workshop Wartsila Presentation May 2008
Low-Sulfur Marine Fuel Availability Study April 2008


Ocean-Going Vessels (OGV) Control Measures

These measures include:

  • vessel speed reduction
  • shore-power/Alternative Maritime Power (AMP)™
  • fuel improvements for main engines
  • auxiliary engines, and auxiliary boilers; cleaner OGV engines
  • technology improvements for OGV engines

Environmental Ship Index Program

The Port of Los Angeles’ (Port) Voluntary Environmental Ship Index Program has been developed to reward vessel operators for reducing Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from their ocean-going vessels (OGVs).  This program rewards operators for going beyond compliance by bringing their newest and cleanest vessels to the Port and demonstrating technologies onboard their vessels. It also encourages use of cleaner technology and practices in advance of regulations.

OGVs are the single largest source of Southern California goods movement air emissions and they make up approximately half of all port-related air emissions.  Since 2005, voluntary emission reduction programs have yielded substantial reductions.  However, based on current forecasts, the Port needs additional emission reductions to meet goals established in the Clean Air Action Plan.  By 2023, this plan calls for 77 percent DPM reductions and 59 percent NOx reductions. 

Click Here for Environmental Ship Index Video

Three Incentive Opportunities

There are three additive incentive opportunities within this program, which starts July 1, 2012:

  • Environmental Ship Index Incentive
  • OGV5 – International Maritime Organization (IMO) Tier II or Tier III Standards
  • OGV6 – Technology Advancement Program Demonstration

To be eligible for these incentives, operators must register with the international Environmental Ship Index (ESI). To receive the incentive payment, operators also must register with the Los Angeles Harbor Department (LAHD). Registration is free, and the incentive grant is paid on a quarterly basis. Registration information is listed below.

Environmental Ship Index Incentive

ESI is an international clean ship indexing program developed through the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) World Ports Climate Initiative (WPCI). IAPH/WPCI seeks international collaboration among ports and shipping lines to reduce air emissions, greenhouse gases, and promote sustainability. 

Operators earn the ESI incentive by using cleaner technology and practices that reduce emissions beyond the regulatory requirements set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). A point system resulting in an ESI score for each vessel is used to qualify for the incentive. To obtain an ESI score, the operator must upload the following information to the ESI website:

  • NOx Points:
    • Rated power, and rated engine speed (rpm) as well as actual NOx emissions (g/kWH) for the vessel’s main and auxiliary engines.  (This information is contained in the vessel’s EIAPP Certificate.)

  • SOx Points:
    • Amount and fuel sulfur content per bunkering event for heavy fuel oil, marine gas oil (MGO)/marine diesel oil (MDO) above 1 percent sulfur, between 0.5 and 1.0 percent sulfur and less than 0.5 percent sulfur. (This information is contained in the vessel’s bunker delivery notes.)
    • Confirmation that the vessel is Onshore Power Supply (OPS) ready or capable of plugging into shoreside electrical power also known as Alternative Maritime Power (AMP)™.

  • CO2 Points:
    • Confirmation that the vessel has a Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP).

The greater the ESI score, the larger the incentive.  Each OGV is eligible for an incentive grant on a per call basis to the Port of Los Angeles based on the following ESI scores:

40 or greater: $1,250 per call
35-39: $1,000 per call
30-34: $750 per call
25-29: $250 per call (This introductory incentive is available for the first six months of the program.)

The Port will pay incentives to vessel operators for ship calls only after the date they have registered for ESI.  However, on a one-time basis only for the first quarter of the Program, the Port will pay qualifying incentives for ship calls from July 1, 2012 to September 30, 2012 provided the Vessel Operator is registered for ESI by September 30, 2012.

OGV5 – International Maritime Organization (IMO) Tier II or Tier III Standards

The OGV5 incentive focuses on reducing NOx from vessels in transit by rewarding shipping lines with the cleanest ship engines. 

  • OGV with an IMO Tier II main engine is eligible for an incentive grant of $750 per call.
  • OGV with an IMO Tier III main engine is eligible for an incentive grant of $3,250 per call.

The IMO Tier II main engine NOx emission limit is 14.4 g/kW-hr is required for marine diesel engines installed on or after January 1, 2011.  Tier III emission standard is required for marine diesel engines installed on or after January 1, 2016 that are used on ships operating in IMO Emission Control Areas (ECA) designated for controlling NOx emissions, which includes the North American ECA covering the Port that will take effect from August 1, 2012.  The IMO Tier III main engine NOx emission limit is 3.4 g/kW-hr.

OGV6 – Technology Advancement Program Demonstration

The OGV6 - Technology Advancement Program (TAP) demonstration incentive is designed for existing vessels calling at the Port of Los Angeles.  This program provides an incentive for OGVs that are demonstrating an emission reduction technology that reduces DPM and NOx emissions.  All testing and demonstrations will be conducted through the San Pedro Bay Ports Technology Advancement Program. 

  • TAP demonstration: $750 per call


Vessel operators must provide basic information about their company.  Once a company account has been established, operators can register as few or as many of their vessels as they want. To continue to qualify for the incentive, shipping lines must provide quarterly data updates.

  • Click here to register with the Los Angeles Harbor Department.  

LAHD registration tells the Port where to send the remittance and what tax forms are required.


ESI Launch:
July 1, 2012
ESI Registration: Continuous
Incentive Distribution: Quarterly (First distribution will be October 2012)


Carter Atkins

Vessel Speed Reduction Program

The objective of the Vessel Speed Reduction (VSR) Program is to reduce NOx emissions from ocean-going vessels by slowing their speeds as they approach or depart the Port, generally at 20 nautical miles from Point Fermin.

A voluntary VSR Program was established in 2001 with the signing of a cooperative Memorandum of Understanding among the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, California Air Resources Board, South Coast Air Quality Management District, Steamship Association of Southern California and Pacific Merchant Shipping Association. The Marine Exchange of Southern California supplies both ports with vessel speed data. Since the establishment of the VSR program in 2001, the compliance rate has steadily increased each year.

In November of 2006, the Los Angeles and Long Beach Boards of Harbor Commissioners adopted the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP). The VSR Program is one of the control measures identified in the CAAP. The measure sets a standard for 100 percent of ocean-going vessels to decrease their speeds to 40 nautical miles from Point Fermin.

Click here to view the Vessel Speed Reduction Incentive Program Guidelines.

Click here to view the Vessel Speed Reduction Program compliance data (updated regularly).

Click here to view the Vessel Speed Reduction Program operator summary.

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