Reed Smith Client Alerts

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) intends to expand its existing Ocean-Going Vessels At-Berth Regulation (the Regulation) in order to reduce further air emissions from ships docked in California. Proposed changes include:

  1. Increasing the number of ports and facilities subject to the Regulation;
  2. Expanding the types of vessels covered by the Regulation; and
  3. Changing the threshold for when emission control requirements are triggered.

Authors: Todd O. Maiden


CARB first adopted the Regulation (full name: “Airborne Toxic Control Measure for Auxiliary Diesel Engines Operated on Ocean-Going Vessels At-Berth in a California Port”) in 2007 to protect public health by controlling oxides of nitrogen (NOx), and particulate matter emissions from diesel auxiliary engines on container ships, passenger ships, and refrigerated-cargo ships while berthing at major California ports. In addition, CARB adopted the Regulation to combat climate change through the reduction of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.

The Regulation currently provides two options to reduce at-berth emissions:

  1. Turn off auxiliary engines and connect the vessel to some other source of power, typically shore based grid power (shore power), or
  2. Use an “alternative control technology” that achieves equivalent emission reductions.

Proposed amendment to the Regulation

 The draft regulatory revisions for the new At-Berth Regulations (the New Regulation) are designed to:

  • Achieve additional emissions reductions of (i) diesel particulate matter (DPM), (ii) particulate emissions of less than 2.5 microns in diameter, (iii) nitrogen oxide (NOx), and (iv) other greenhouse gases (GHG) (as a co-benefit of increased shore power usage) beyond those realized by the existing Regulation;
  • Further reduce adverse health impacts to the communities surrounding ports and terminals; and
  • Increase the clarity and enforceability of regulatory requirements for vessels.