In the coming weeks, the sight of cargo ships lined up outside the Port of Oakland will become visible only in our memories. In an effort to “reduce congestion, to promote maritime safety and minimize air quality impacts,” the Pacific Maritime Association, the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association and the Marine Exchange have joined forces to create a “new off-shore queuing process.”
According to SFGATE, under the new rules, launched this week, instead of anchoring in the Bay while they wait for their turn at the dock, the 200,000-ton vessels will receive an assignment time and will remain in a newly designated zone, the “Safety and Air Quality Area,” which lies 50 miles off the coast.
The Pacific Merchant Shipping Association (PMSA) told SFGATE that the new system will “reduce emissions from vessels located near the Bay Area, and allows more space between vessels.” They expect that it will also allow the ships to “slow steam across the Pacific,” and thereby reduce their overall emissions.
The new system is already in use in Southern California at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and according to PMA President and CEO Jim McKenna, the system is a “resounding success.”
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