Our vessel engineering and operations departments have been focused on reducing vessel emissions for many years. As fuel is a significant operating cost, fuel efficiency and its relationship to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has also been a major area of focus. Past projects have included installation of 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 older vessels.

Matson has participated in the Port of Long Beach’s Green Flag program since its inception. This voluntary program encourages vessels to slow to 12 knots within 20 miles of the port, which reduces GHG emissions.  Since 2006, Matson has exceeded 90% compliance within the 20-mile speed reduction zone and has been consistently recognized as a top carrier by the Port of Long Beach.  In addition, four of our ships that regularly call at the Port of Long Beach have qualified for the Port’s Green Ship program for achieving Tier 2 NOx standards.

In 2006, Matson and its 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 we began to work with the port on designing its system, use of AMP on a commercial basis was still in its infancy. A significant milestone was reached in 2011 when five 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.

Most recently, we invested in state-of-the-art hybrid “wet scrubber” exhaust gas cleaning (EGC) technology for our Alaska fleet. The technology is unlike any other on a U.S.-flagged vessel. Matson worked closely with the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in certifying the effectiveness of the new system. When operating within 12 miles of the coastline, it uses a closed loop system that sprays fresh water treated with sodium hydroxide into the vessel’s exhaust system and then collects and treats the wash water to neutralize harmful compounds. The system reduces sulfur dioxide and particulate matter in emissions to levels well below limits set by stringent federal and state environmental regulations. Testing of the equipment has shown fleet sulfur emissions below those of vessels using low-sulfur fuel.

Matson is a proud member of BSR’s Clean Cargo Working Group (CCWG), a business-to-business leadership initiative involving major brands, cargo carriers, and freight forwarders dedicated to reducing the environmental impacts of global goods transportation and promoting responsible shipping.  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 increase efficiency and sustainability. 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 U.S. EPA SmartWay.