Ship Shape: Reducing Vessel Speed

Ship Shape: Reducing Vessel Speed

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Reducing vessel speed represents one important way in which ships can limit air pollutants including greenhouse gases. A 10% decrease in fleet speed can translate into more than a 20% reduction in emissions. In California, the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles have incentive-based vessel speed programs that have proven successful, with participation rates of over 90%. Additionally, due to the high price of marine fuel, many shipping companies such as Maersk, Torm, Hanjin, and Hyundai have voluntarily embraced fleet speed reductions to save on fuel costs, which now account for over half of shippers’ overall expenses.

Yet, even greater emission reductions through vessel speed reductions are possible, and Friends of the Earth has urged bodies such as the International Maritime Organization and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to begin crafting and implementing these measures as soon as possible. In fact, due in part to Friends of the Earth’s advocacy, CARB will soon hold a public meeting to explore possible statewide measures for reducing vessel speed. Click here to learn more.