World Shipping Council backs EPA ocean vessel emission plan
The world's major ocean carriers announced Thursday their support for an international proposal by the U.S. government to reduce smokestack emissions from ocean vessels.
The World Shipping Council, whose member liner shipping companies carry more than 90 percent of the world's containerized cargo, announced its endorsement of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's proposed approach to the International Maritime Organization plan for new ocean vessel fuel standards in agreed coastal areas and new ocean vessel engine system standards. The IMO is considering several different proposals to cut particulate matter, sulfur and nitrogen oxide emissions from ocean vessels.
'Our industry recognizes that, in order for an international regime developed at the IMO to be accepted, it must be environmentally effective. We have endorsed the U.S. approach because it is comprehensive, environmentally effective, and would provide a predictable and stable set of international standards, which the industry needs to operate effectively,' said Adolf Adrion, chairman of the World Shipping Council and president and chief executive officer of Hapag-Lloyd Container Lines.
The announcement came after a meeting of the WSC board of directors with the U.S. Coast Guard and the EPA. The Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, which represents 60 international shipping lines and terminal operators, also joined in the meeting and endorsed the U.S. proposal.
John McLaurin, president of the PMSA said: 'The draft EPA proposal exceeds the emission standards and requirements that have been proposed by the State of California and the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The proposal would implement the most rigorous sulfur fuel requirements two years sooner, and extend those requirements to all coastal areas of the world and to greater distances offshore. The proposal also would set limits on oxides of nitrogen emissions from existing and future marine engines.'
The U.S. proposal being supported by the WSC and PMSA calls for the use of low sulfur distillate fuel in ocean vessels that contains 0.1 percent of sulfur. Fuels in use today by the world's ocean vessels can have a sulfur content as high as 4.5 percent, leading to high particulate matter and sulfur oxides generation.
The European Community is proposing the same fuel for vessels while in port starting in 2010. California has also proposed using the same fuel for the Southern California ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. In addition, the California Air Resources Board has gone on record as supporting the U.S. proposal at the IMO, stating, 'equally effective international regulation of ship emissions would be a better solution.'
The U.S. proposal also calls for new vessel engine standards, which need to address nitrogen oxides generation.