SAN PEDRO, Calif. — SEPT. 30, 2009 —  The Los Angeles Harbor Commission has approved an expansion of the Port’s Vessel Speed Reduction Incentive Program (VSRIP), allowing all ocean-going vessel operators to qualify for further financial incentives while saving fuel and reducing pollution.

A Voluntary Vessel Speed Reduction Program has been in effect since 2001, in which vessels reduce speed to a voluntary 12-knot speed limit within 20 nautical miles of Point Fermin.  In June 2008, the Port of Los Angeles added a financial incentive, rewarding vessel operators whose fleets achieved 90 percent or better year-round compliance of the speed reduction program with a 15 percent discount on first-day dockage fees. Ninety percent of vessel operators are participating in the current program.

Tuesday’s action by the Harbor Commission gives vessel operators the option of slowing down within 40 nautical miles of Point Fermin instead of 20 nautical miles. Vessel operators achieving 90 percent compliance at the 40-mile range would receive a 30 percent discount on first-day dockage fees. Operators adhering to the 20 nautical mile speed reduction would remain eligible for the 15 percent discount.

“We expect the air quality benefit to more than double compared to the current program,” said Port Executive Director Geraldine Knatz, Ph.D. “We have already eliminated hundreds of tons of pollutants and diesel particulates. Together with our shipping partners, we can do even better with these new incentives.”

The Port of Los Angeles is America’s premier port and has a strong commitment to developing innovative strategic and sustainable operations that benefit the economy as well as the quality of life for the region and the nation it serves.  As the leading seaport in North America in terms of shipping container volume and cargo value, the Port generates 919,000 regional jobs and $39.1 billion in annual wages and tax revenues.  A proprietary department of the City of Los Angeles, the Port is self-supporting and does not receive taxpayer dollars.

The Port of Los Angeles – A cleaner port.  A brighter future.