Attracting the Cleanest Ships

The Port is proud to be the first seaport in North America and the Pacific Rim to adopt the Environmental Ship Index (ESI) Program and reward ocean carriers for voluntarily deploying their newest, cleanest ships to the Port.


What is the Environmental Ship Index (ESI) Program?

The ESI is an international clean air rewards program that offers incentives to attract ships that exceed international environmental standards and encourages technology demonstration projects to further reduce vessel emissions. ESI’s benefits include:

  • Improving local and regional air quality
  • Promoting clean fuels and technology
  • Encouraging global fleet modernization


Bringing the Newest, Cleanest Ships to Los Angeles

Commercial ships that move goods around the world represent the single largest source of air pollution associated with operations at the Port of Los Angeles and ports around the globe. Because ships are governed by international convention, there are limits to what one port or even one nation can do to regulate them. In 2012, the Port expanded its clean air programs by adding the Environmental Ship Index (ESI), a voluntary program that rewards carriers for deploying their cleanest, newest ships to the Port and testing promising technology to further reduce vessel emissions.

Port of Los Angeles has Rewarded Vessel Operators Nearly $2.4 million

The International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) developed ESI, and the rewards program started in Europe. Each port sets its own criteria for rewards, depending on its regional clean air priorities, and uses a web-based tool to accumulate points for clean technologies and practices.

At the Port of Los Angeles, vessel operators earn points for ships with the cleanest engines (Tier II or Tier III) and for testing new pollution control technology. They also earn points for following best practices including using fuel with the lowest sulfur content, being equipped to plug into AMP (shore power), and having a Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan. To date, the Port has paid out nearly $2.4 million in ESI incentives.

Ports Working Together to Accelerate Fleet Modernization for a Healthier World

The Port of Los Angeles was the first seaport in North America and the Pacific Rim to adopt ESI. Today, 53 ports around the globe are participating ESI incentive providers, including eight more in North America and the Pacific Rim. As more ports join the program, the financial incentive to deploy cleaner ships worldwide increases.