The Port of Los Angeles paid US$5m in 2005 to enable China Shipping’s ships to plug into electric shore power when at dock but most of the carrier’s vessels stopped calling at the port in 2010, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The port paid the Chinese state-owned shipping line to keep diesel engine from polluting the area surrounding the area, with the carrier spending the money to upgrade 17 of its ships.
The payment was part of a 2004 legal settlement to a dispute started when local residents and environmentalists expressed health concerns and filed a lawsuit to stop the expansion of China Shipping’s facilities.
The port promised the imposition of environmental measures on the company, including the requirement to use shore power for 30% of the ships docked at the terminal in 2004 and all vessels by 2011.
However, when the Chinese company objected, the port agreed to pay for the upgrade of 17 of its vessels.
The business met the environmental requirements until the 2009 economic crisis, when Geraldine Knatz, the port’s former director, reportedly allowed the shipping line to ignore the mandate and use the upgraded vessels in other parts of the world, without revealing the decision to the public.
According to the newspaper, the vessels taking China Shipping’s place on the Asia-to-Los Angeles route were not all equipped for shore power, with half of them leaving their engines running from 2010 to 2013 and 88% in 2012.
In 2015, Los Angeles officials admitted that they permitted China Shipping to ignore the environmental requirements without disclosing the action to the public.