Mechanisms to Accelerate Deployment of Cleanest IMO TIER 3 Marine Vessels to U.S. Ports

Focus Area

Air Quality


Air Quality






Under 1 year

Research Idea Scope

(1) The objective would be to develop potential regulatory and incentive mechanisms to accelerate deployment of IMO Tier 3 marine vessels to U.S. ports.
(2) Key tasks would be a) research and identify successful existing regulations and incentive programs that require fleets to use cleaner ships; b) work with Marine Vessel fleets, Ports, and appropriate Association Groups to identify additional incentives or regulations that would accelerate deployment of the cleanest ships to U.S. Ports c) Rank or rate most promising regulations and incentive programs; and d) develop implementation strategy addressing financial, legal, economic, and technical issues.

Urgency and Payoff

Oceangoing vessels are among the largest sources of nitrogen oxides and other types of air pollution in many port cities. International Maritime Organization (IMO) standards specify that vessels built after January 1, 2016 and used in “Emission Control Areas” — including the waters adjacent to much of the United States — must incorporate engines that reduce NOx emissions by at least 80% (Tier 3 standards).  There are, however, no international, federal, state or local requirements or programs to ensure that such vessels will be built and come to U.S. waters.  The rate of deployment of such cleaner vessels to U.S. waters is highly uncertain, but such deployment will be needed for some areas to attain federal air quality standards.  

With a well developed strategy to encourage the cleanest vessels to travel to U.S. Ports, the emissions impact on the air quality and public health of from this very large source of air pollution could be significantly reduced.

Suggested By

Randall Pasek, South Coast Air Quality Management District 909.396.2251

[email protected]