The diesel air pollution violations were discovered during routine audits of the Shanghai-based company’s 2014-2017 fleet visits to the Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach and the Port of Oakland. COSCO Container Lines committed over 2,600 air quality violations during visits to California ports.
“CARB’s At-Berth Regulation is a game changer that is helping to dramatically improve our air quality in some of our most impacted communities in the state,” said CARB Executive Officer Richard W. Corey. “That is a key reason why we are working to increase the stringency of the program. But the success of the program is predicated on compliance with its requirements and swift enforcement action if there are violations.”
CARB’s investigation revealed that from 2014-2016, COSCO’s visits to these ports did not meet operational time limits for at least half of the visits. The fleet also failed to reduce the auxiliary engine power generation by the required 50%. Combined, these failures resulted in 2,401 violations of the Ocean-Going At-Berth Regulation.
For the 2017 compliance year, COSCO’s Oakland fleet did not meet operational time limits for at least 70% of the fleet’s visits and did not reduce the auxiliary engine power generation by 70% as required, resulting in 211 violations.
To settle the case, COSCO agreed to pay $965,300 to the Air Pollution Control Fund to support air pollution research, and to comply with all applicable CARB regulations.
COSCO also committed to have 100% of its vessels shore-power capable, and early compliance with the 80% reduction requirements before the 2020 deadline stipulated in the Regulation. COSCO cooperated with the investigation and met its commitment for exceeding 80% power reductions in 2018.
Adopted in 2007, the At-Berth Regulation was designed to reduce emissions from diesel auxiliary engines on container ships, passenger ships and refrigerated-cargo ships while berthing at a California port. Vessel operators can either turn off auxiliary engines and connect to grid-based shore power or use alternative technologies to comply with the emission reduction requirements of the regulation. The regulation requires a fleet operator to reduce at-berth oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) emissions from its vessels’ auxiliary engines in port by at least 80% by 2020.
In 2020, a new regulation aimed at capturing greater emissions from ocean-going vessels at berth will be presented to the Board for approval with the first compliance deadline in 2021.