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ABC Fuels Program

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Port retires ABC Fuels program after eliminating 860+ metric tons of sulfur dioxide

After a successful six-year run, the Port of Seattle is ending its innovative At-Berth Clean Fuels (ABC Fuels) program.

Beginning in 2009, the port provided a financial incentive for ship operators to burn fuel with a sulfur content of less than 0.5% in main or auxiliary engines while berthed at port piers. In 2013 and 2014 the port increased the incentive for vessels that burned fuel with a sulfur content of 0.1% or less. The low sulfur fuel improved air quality by reducing emissions of sulfur dioxide. ABC Fuels eliminated more than 850 metric tons of sulfur dioxide.

In January 2015 the International Maritime Organization instituted a rule that supersedes the ABC Fuels program. Called the North American Emissions Control Area (ECA), it requires all vessels operating within 200 nautical miles of the U.S. and Canadian coastlines to use fuel with a sulfur content of 0.1 % or less. ABC Fuels was designed to meet the goal of the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy to achieve early compliance with ECA.

Cruise and container carriers that participated in the program included: APL, China Ocean Shipping Company, Evergreen Line, Hamburg Süd, Hapag-Lloyd, Maersk Line, Matson Navigation, OOCL, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Princess Cruises. The value of incentives paid out to participating ship operators was $3.23 million over the life of the program.

To qualify for the program vessel operators had to meet the sulfur content requirements mentioned above, have a minimum of five vessel calls per year in Seattle, and comply with enrollment, verification and reporting requirements. Periodic audits were performed to ensure compliance with program requirements.