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Marine Log

March 18, 2007

APL switches to low sulfur fuel in Seattle

APL has announced it is to switch vessels to low-sulfur fuel when they call the Port of Seattle.

APL says that all vessels in its Pacific South 1 Service (PS1) will burn low-sulfur fuel in auxiliary engines while berthed in Seattle.

Speaking from the bridge of the APL Coral in the Port of Seattle, APL Americas President John Bowe said conversion to low-sulfur fuel could reduce diesel particulate matter emissions 75 percent while emissions of sulfur oxides (SOx) could be cut 80 percent.

Over the course of a year, says APL, 3.5 tons of particulate matter emissions will be eliminated and 30 tons of SOx.

Bowe, who was joined by Dennis McLerran, Executive Director of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, and Port of Seattle Commission President John Creighton in making the announcement.

"There is no regulatory requirement for low-sulfur fuel in Seattle," Bowe noted, "but we've got a responsibility to soften our impact on the communities we serve."

In December, APL announced conversion of the 23 vessels in its California services to low-sulfur fuel. At the same time it announced a partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency and California air quality boards to test innovative fuel emulsification technology that could significantly reduce pollutants from vessel exhaust.

"We're extremely pleased with APL's commitment to use lower-sulfur fuels when calling on Seattle," said McLerran. "As our ports grow it is important that we take steps to reduce emissions so that growth can be sustainable and protect our environment. Reducing diesel emissions is a high priority for us as it will help reduce air toxics risk and the adverse health effects of breathing dirty air such as asthma. We applaud APL for its leadership and environmental stewardship in initiating this low-sulfur fuel program."

Added Creighton: "Protecting air and water quality in the Puget Sound basin is a top priority of the Port Commission, and we're proud to count APL as one of the port's key economic and environmental partners. We commend APL for their leadership in taking voluntary steps to reduce air emissions."

Vessel emissions are the latest target in APL's effort to curb pollution, Bowe said. The carrier has undertaken numerous landside air initiatives at its West Coast marine terminals in Seattle, Los Angeles and Oakland, including:

  • use of cleaner-burning biodiesel fuel in container-handling equipment at APL's Global Gateway North terminal in the Port of Seattle;
  • extending rail lines all the way to the dock at its Seattle and Los Angeles terminals to avoid transporting containers by truck to public rail ramps miles away; and
  • replacement of 300 aging yard tractors with newer, more environmentally friendly models.

"We're proud of what we have accomplished to date," said Bowe, "but we're not done yet. We intend to keep working on environmental initiatives and keep innovating so that we can balance the demand for freight transportation with the need to protect air quality on our coast."

APL is a unit of Singapore- based Neptune Orient Lines (NOL), a global logistics and transportation company.

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