Maersk Line containerships will switch to burning low-sulfur fuel while at berth in the Port of Virginia starting in February.
The fuel switch program will help improve air quality in the greater Hampton Roads area by significantly reducing emissions of sulfur and nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. Maersk is the first shipping line to participate in the Green Operator fuel switch program sponsored by the Commonwealth of Virginia through the Virginia Port Authority, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the Department of Transportation.
Maers will take advantage of a $300,000 incentive from VPA to burn the ultra low-sulfur fuel at container terminals in Norfolk and Portsmouth. Once moored, Maersk ships will draw fuel from an on-board tank filled with the cleaner burning fuel.
The fuel switch program will run for 13 months and involve 41 Maersk ships making over 210 port calls. While at berth, Maersk ships will be powered by auxiliary engines running on low-sulfur marine gas oil, which contains less than 0.1 percent sulfur. The fuel will reduce emissions of sulfur oxides by an estimated 20 metric tons in the first six months of the program.
This will cut emissions of particulate matter during the period by an estimated 86 percent or 1.4 metric tons, and nitrogen oxides by 6 percent or approximately 0.15 metric tons. Since 2006, Maersk Line has implemented similar projects in Texas, California, and the Pacific Northwest to reduce emissions by switching to low-sulfur fuel.