Reducing Air Emissions

Ocean-going vessels are considered by some to be major contributors to air pollution. This is particularly important in port communities where emissions of particulate matter have been linked to health impacts. Vessels at berth, or in transit, also emit nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur oxides (SOx) which can impact regional air quality.In recent years, there has been increased awareness of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the link to global climate change. Matson’s vessel engineering and operations departments have been focused on reducing air pollutant emissions for many years. As fuel is a significant operating cost for the company, fuel efficiency and its relationship to GHG emissions has also been a major area of focus. Past projects have included installing stack cameras so that smoke emissions can be quickly identified and abatement initiated, engine retrofits such as high efficiency turbochargers, fuel oil homogenizers, slide valves, and internal combustion controls for the steamships.

Matson has participated in the Port of Long Beach’s Green Flag incentive program since its inception. This voluntary program encourages vessels to slow to 12 knots within 20 and 40 miles of the port. This slowdown reduces emissions of all priority pollutants and conserves fuel which reduces GHG emissions. Since 2006, Matson has achieved over 90% compliance with the 20 mile speed reduction zone and has been recognized as a top carrier every year by the Port of Long Beach at their annual awards ceremony. Top carriers are recognized as those who achieve at least 90% compliance and have at least 50 vessel calls annually.

In 2006, Matson and marine terminal operator SSAT renewed the lease for Pier C in Port of Long Beach. This renewal, which became the first “green lease” signed at the port, included environmental covenants which cover the use of cold ironing or equivalent technology. Cold ironing, also known as alternative marine power (AMP), involves completely shutting down vessel engines in port and connecting to a shore-based electrical grid. This eliminates stack emissions and fuel consumption at berth after connection. When Matson began to work with the port on the design of the system, use of AMP on a commercial basis was still in its infancy. In 2011, a significant milestone was reached when 5 vessels were successfully tested using the shore-based infrastructure constructed by the Port of Long Beach at Pier C. You can learn more about this project by viewing this video.

Matson is a proud member of BSR’s Clean Cargo Working Group (CCWG) which is dedicated to integrating environmentally and socially responsible business principles into transportation management. CCWG has approximately 30 members consisting of ocean carriers and shippers concerned with the environmental impacts of transporting their goods. The objectives of the group include creating practical tools for measuring and reducing the environmental impact of global goods transportation, enabling direct dialogue between shippers and carriers, and driving standardization in the industry to achieve efficiency. Each year member shipping companies provide environmental performance data and complete a qualitative Environmental Performance Survey which is shared within the group. To achieve standardization of environmental performance indicators, CCWG also partners with other organizations such as International Maritime Organization, World Shipping Council, and US EPA SmartWay.