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Augusta Saraiva: Ships bound for LA and Long Beach will wait farther out to sea

Vessels bound for the Southern California port complex, the largest in the U.S., will now have to wait for an available berth almost seven times as far away as currently allowed in a bid to improve air quality and safety in the area.

Starting Nov. 16, ships waiting to anchor at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will have to wait for a green light about 150 miles from the coast, the Pacific Merchant Shipping Assn., the Pacific Maritime Assn. and the Marine Exchange of Southern California said in a statement Thursday. That compares with 20 nautical miles (23 miles) now. North- and southbound vessels must remain more than 50 miles from the state’s coastline.

The shipping industry is responsible for almost 3% of carbon emissions worldwide, according to the International Maritime Organization. Overwhelming volume generated by pandemic-induced consumer demand has seen record numbers of ships moving through Los Angeles and Long Beach, which brings more trucks into the area to pick up and drop off containers.

An “environmentally sound” marine transportation system is essential to the California economy, Marine Exchange of Southern California Executive Director James Kipling Louttit said in the statement. The new rules will support “the health of our ports,” he said.

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Posted: November 11, 2021 Thursday 04:45 PM