Vessel Speed Reduction for Ocean-going Vessels - Background

This page last reviewed July 8, 2008

In May 2001, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach (POLA/POLB), the United States Environmental Protection Agency - Region 9, ARB, the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the Pacific Merchants Shipping Association, and the Marine Exchange of Southern California was signed (it was later extended through 2004). This MOU specifically requests OGVs to voluntarily reduce their speed to 12 knots at a distance of 20 nautical miles from the POLA/POLB. In doing so, significant reductions in NOx emissions would occur and help meet the goals of the 1994 ozone State Implementation Plan and 1997 South Coast Air Quality Management Plan.

Currently, ARB staff is conducting an evaluation of the effects to the industry and surrounding communities if a vessel speed reduction program is implemented at the major ports throughout the State. Staff is looking at the impact of vessel speed reduction on emissions of diesel PM, NOx, SOx, and CO2 at various distances from the California coast.