Polluting CMA CGM Megaships will NOT be coming to the West Coast anytime soon

With corrections – 

Earlier this year, Los Angelenos and others who care about public health were shocked when the huge container ship Benjamin Franklin visited the Port of Long Beach, and we learned it could not be run on shore power at its berth.

Reportedly, it has the capability, but its systems are not compatible with some or all POLB shore power systems.

Without the capability to run air conditioners, pumps, and other infrastructure using shore power, a ship that size can generate as much pollution as 40,000 cars, as it sits continuously running its engines while at dock, with very bad health consequences.

EPA on dieselAs we As described in Amazing technology can eliminate pollution from docked cargo ships, the Port of Long Beach and its neighbors were saved from a big dose of diesel exhaust air pollution by Ruben Garcia, owner of Advanced Environmental Group, who deployed the Advanced Maritime Emission Control System (AMECS) to scrub the pollution as it came out of the stacks of the ship.

In March, the ships owner, CMA CGM, announced they would send this and other similar ships to West Coast ports every week, sending port operators into a “frenzy”, and dismaying public health experts.

Well – we got good news this week.  The shipping company, CMA CGM, has decided NOT to deploy its fleet of six mega-ships to the West Coast for the foreseeable future.

While they say that it was because the market isn’t ready, it is clear that work needs to be done.  Without the capability to use shore power, every visit of their mega container ships would cost the health of workers and nearby residents.

Whatever the reason, it’s a good thing, at least for now.  In the future, might the powers-that-be in Los Angeles and Long Beach stand up for their residents and say, “No, you can’t visit our port until you can do it without endangering our workers and nearby communities”?

I hope so.