China Shipping has diverted more than 60% of its cargo away from its terminal in the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) to Long Beach due to its neighbour’s relaxed environmental rules according to the POLA’s executive director.
Berths 97-109 at the POLA have suffered a net loss of approximately 200,000 teu since July 2017 with the cargo being directed towards COSCO’s Pier J terminal in the Port of Long Beach (POLB).
The Chinese state-owned lines are currently involved in a merger process, giving them a wider choice of terminals to berth at on the US West Coast.
The POLA’s executive director, Gene Seroka told the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners that COSCO “made a strategic decision to move cargo away from our Berth 100 Port of Los Angeles to their terminal in Long Beach because they have less stringent mitigation measures at that facility.”
At the time, Lori Ann Guzman, president of Long Beach’s harbour commission responded: “We are known as the green port, to suggest that we have less stringent environmental standards is inaccurate.”
China Shipping agreed to implement 30 air quality mitigation measures when it renewed its terminal lease at the POLA in 2008.
A spokesperson for the POLA told CM that “China Shipping is compliant on most measures but non-compliant on some.”
“Seroka’s point was the cargo moved to a terminal that does not have these kind of mitigation measures in place,” he added.
According to the POLA’s website, China Shipping is currently non-compliant to the vessel speed reduction programme as well as guidelines over engines in yard tractors and yard equipment plus a commitment to use a high percentage of LNG trucks.
A POLB spokesperson told CM that the port has enforced strict environmental measures.
“Our terminals require ships to plug in for electricity at berth and shut down their diesel engines,” he stated. “97% of ships calling Long Beach slow down for clean air as part of our voluntary vessel speed reduction program; and all terminals must comply with the Clean Trucks Program which has cut more than 90% of diesel particulate from trucks since 2008.”
Both West Coast ports have worked together for the past 11 years under
the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan’s guidelines. Both ports are also regulated by the California Air Resources Board.
The reasons for the stricter mitigation measures at China Shipping’s Los Angeles terminal emanate from a lawsuit in 2001.