Five years of cleaner fuel significantly reduces emissions in US ports
April 12, 2011
Maersk Line’s drive to cut vessel sulphur emissions (“SOx”) achieved an important milestone when it completed five years and over 2000 port calls with cleaner fuels in the US. Reducing SOx is a key component of Maersk Line’s environment strategy that started in North America and is now expanding to other countries.
Maersk Line vessels reduced sulphur oxide (SOx) and other hazardous air emissions by over 4,000 tons by switching to low-sulphur fuel when approaching port and while at dock in five ports in North America. Use of this cleaner fuel reduces air emissions of sulphur oxide by 95% and fine particles by 86%.
This programme began on 31 March 2006 with a voluntary pilot programme in California, as part of the organisation’s commitment to environmentally responsible operations. Since then similar voluntary programmes have been added in Houston, Seattle/Tacoma, and Vancouver, Canada, providing cleaner air and health benefits to residents in these major port cities. Maersk line is now extending this program voluntarily to Hong Kong, New Zealand, and other global areas.
A healthier state
For its efforts, Maersk Line has received numerous ‘clean air excellence’ awards from these ports and has been recognized officially at all levels of government in the US.
“Congratulations to Maersk Line on this anniversary. You are the environmental leader in the shipping industry. California is a healthier state due to your commitment to cleaner air quality,” said Alan Lowenthal, California State Senator.
Congresswoman Laura Richardson, from California, also told the US Congress of Maersk Line’s fuel-switching efforts in California and said: “I applaud them [Maersk Line] and thank them for being an example of corporate responsibility to the citizens of the world.”
“We are proud of these results and of our contribution to improving port area air quality,” says Dr. Lee Kindberg, Director Environment and Sustainability for Maersk Line in North America. “We are working to improve air quality for people living near the ports and reducing our impacts on the environment.”
Leadership in shipping
Mads Stensen, who is responsible for extending Maersk Line’s fuel switch programme globally, explains that sulphur is a major problem for the container shipping industry.
“We are concerned with the possible health impacts of repeated, long-term airborne exposure to SOx, in particular for people living close to busy ports,” he says.
Vessels are one of the last major sources of SOx in most port cities — sulphur has been removed from most other fuels in the US — and, until the California Air Resources Board (CARB) implemented mandatory requirements on low-sulphur fuels, Maersk Line was the only fuel-switching carrier.
Maersk Line has committed to implementing fuel switch programmes at a minimum of ten global locations by 2015. Hong Kong and New Zealand are the latest fuel switch programmes and the first voluntary programmes outside North America.
Mr. Maersk McKinney Møller attended the first fuel switch in 2006