Random Lengths News
POLA Announces ‘Green Shipping Corridor’ Plan
Detailed Implementation Plan Promised By Year End
On Jan. 28, the Port of Los Angeles announced a partnership with Port of Shanghai, and C40 Cities to work with leading industry partners to begin transitioning to zero-carbon fueled ships by 2030, with a commitment to deliver an implementation plan by the end of 2022. But, as with the Clean Truck Plan, transitional fossil fuel use remains a troubling concern, among others.
“International collaboration is essential to decarbonize global supply chains,” said Port of LA Executive Director Gene Seroka. “It’s time to get started on this important work.”
“I am impressed with the commitment, however, I’ve learned that, when it comes to these things, it’s a lot easier to make promises than it is to keep them,” said Joe Lyou, president and CEO of the Coalition for Clean Air. “I’ll be a lot happier when the green shipping corridor becomes a reality.” Lyou’s comment was typical of initial responses from activists, which combined a mixture of praise and caution.
“Note that, as with the Clean Trucks Plan, the
commitment doesn’t reduce climate and air pollution. It’s the fulfillment of the commitment that matters,” Lyou explained. “When they development their implementation plan, they will need to make sure that the time lines and deliverables are enforceable commitments that include meaningful consequences for failing to make good on the promises.”
Perhaps the most enthusiastic response came from Xiaoli Mao, lead author of a 2020 study from the International Council on Clean Transportation, assessing the possibility of such a corridor using hydrogen as a fuel.
“This is exciting news,” said Mao. “We’ve shown in our 2020 study that technically speaking, 99% of a container shipping lane traffic between Pearl River Delta in China and San Pedro Bay in the US can be powered by green hydrogen with just minor changes on ship operations. This announcement, which involves a very similar shipping lane, provides added confidence that a green shipping corridor this long could become a reality very soon.”
But she added a note of caution: “We need to be aware though, to make sure that the corridor considers shipping decarbonization solutions based on their life-cycle greenhouse gas reduction potentials.”
“With ships being a huge contributor of the most harmful air pollution and greenhouse gases, I’m overjoyed [with the plan],” said Richard Havenick, San Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council and Harbor Community Benefits Board member.
“Though less lofty than the Clydebank Declaration goal of six green corridors by mid-decade, I am grateful to the C40 for their immediate goal to develop the Green Shipping Corridor Implementation Plan by year-end 2022 to include deliverables, milestones, and partnership roles.” Balancing caution and hope, he added, “I hold the expectation that green shipping means free of carbon and free of methane and that the San Pedro Bay Port complex is the venue to gather the great minds necessary to achieve the goal by 2030.”
“We thank Mayor Garcetti, C40 Cities, the Port of Los Angeles, the Port of Shanghai, and leading industry partners for advancing a horizon of hope,” said Dawny’all Heydari, Ship It Zero Campaign Lead at Pacific Environment. “In 2021, fossil-fueled ships at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach increased cancerous particulate matter emissions in Southern California by the equivalent by 100,000 big rig trucks per day. With our port neighbors and oceans dying now, we need urgent action to end ship pollution in 2022 — and a 100% zero-emissions international shipping future this decade.” But, Heydari added, “Inclusion of the term ‘low carbon’ in this announcement is concerning: We call on leaders involved in this corridor and all ocean shippers to reject LNG and interim fuels and rapidly invest only in 100% zero-emissions solution from wellto-wake.”
The plan “sets a climate leadership bar for ports, shipping companies, and the retail brands that ship their goods on heavily polluting container ships,” said Kendra Ulrich, shipping campaigns director at Stand.earth. “Climate laggards like Target and Walmart should take note: the massive pollution impact of this industry on our climate and public health will no longer sail under the radar.”
“While we celebrate the announcement, we also urge companies and governments to ensure that this green corridor is truly fossil-free,” Ulrich added. “Too often, the oil and gas lobby have derailed climate action, and have been pushing the shipping industry to switch to LNG as a false climate solution. Now is not the time to be blown off course by yet another GHG-intensive fossil fuel.”
“We welcome more such collaboration to be announced in coming years,” said Mao. “As mentioned in the announcement, a green shipping corridor is a great venue for multi-stakeholder partnership to ensure that cargo demand, transport service, fuel demand and required infrastructure can be developed coordinately to deliver a fast and economic transition to decarbonizing the shipping industry. I am especially glad that the announcement mentioned zero-carbon fuels since that’s an area that the much needed early investment is still lacking right now.”