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Monday, 16 June 2014

Long Beach considers incentives for slow-steaming, shore power and on-dock rail

Port of Long Beach Port of Long Beach POLB

The Port of Long Beach (POLB) is considering two incentives programmes to cut emissions: waiving dockage charges for ships that slow-steam and plug into shore power, and paying $5 per additional rail-hauled containers.

The Board of Harbour Commissioners gave last week preliminary approval to these two measures, and is scheduled to consider them for final approval at its meeting on June 23rd.

POLB says that the incentives are designed to help it compete with other West Coast ports that have already cut fees to grow their business. “By encouraging the use of shore power or another approved system for cutting at-berth ship emissions, and by bringing more cargo via on-dock rail, the Long Beach programmes seek to increase trade while also reducing air pollution,” says the Californian port in a press release.

The Vessel Dockage Waiver programme requires the vessel operator to slow down within 40 nautical miles of the port. The vessel operator is also required then to use shore power at berth or a certified alternative. By waiving the dockage fees in such cases, POLB will forgo an estimated $3.3 million to $4.9 million a year. But it expects the measure will attract additional cargo to Long Beach, and help to offset the costs with an increase in revenue from other fees.

The Incremental On-Dock Intermodal Incentive programme will pay $5 per loaded TEU for new cargo above the 2013 baseline level that is also rail-hauled out of, or into, the port.

“We are really in competition with Vancouver, with Prince Rupert, with Lazaro Cardenas, where costs are much lower than San Pedro Bay,” said Board of Harbour Commissioners president Doug Drummond. “These incentives are important because they have to do with increasing cargo for our Port and are hitting at a time when cargo across the board is increasing.”

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