LA cuts emissions by reducing vessel speeds

Port of Los Angeles 174 companies participated in the Port of Los Angeles' Vessel Speed Reduction Program i 2018. Image: Port of Los Angeles

The Port of Los Angeles has recognised 28 shipping lines for their participation in its Vessel Speed Reduction Program (VSRP) to help decrease operational emissions.

This is an air quality and annual incentive programme for vessel operators who reduce their speed as they approach or depart the port. In 2018, 174 companies participated in the programme, with more than 3,000 combined vessel calls that aided in the decrease of emissions from ocean-going vessels. 589 ships attained the 100% VSRP compliance within the 20 and 40 nautical mile zone.

“Vessel Speed Reduction has cut harmful emissions in San Pedro Bay for nearly two decades,” said Port of Los Angeles executive director Gene Seroka. “We’re grateful to our partners – many who have been doing this for years – who have committed to this and other sustainability efforts in our Clean Air Action Plan.”


Ships voluntarily slow down to 12 knots as they approach or depart the San Pedro Bay port complex, generally at 20 nautical miles from Point Fermin. Since 2008, the Port of Los Angeles has offered incentives to shipping lines that achieve a 90% participation rate in the VSRP during a full calendar year. In 2009, the programme was expanded to also include incentives for reducing speed at 40 nautical miles from Point Fermin.

The VSRP was established in 2001 with the signing of a cooperative Memorandum of Understanding among the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the US Environmental Protection Agency, California Air Resources Board, South Coast Air Quality Management District, Steamship Association of Southern California, and Pacific Merchant Shipping Association.



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