The Port of Long Beach is the premier U.S. gateway for trans-Pacific trade and a trailblazer in innovative goods movement, safety, environmental stewardship and sustainability. As the second-busiest container seaport in the United States, the Port handles trade valued at more than $194 billion annually and supports 2.6 million trade-related jobs across the USA, more than 575,000 in Southern California.

The Port’s Green Flag Program is a voluntary vessel speed reduction program that rewards vessel operators for slowing down to 12 knots or less within 40 nautical miles (nm) of Point Fermin (near the entrance to the Harbor). Because the ships emit less when they travel more slowly, the program has been highly successful in reducing smog-forming emissions and diesel particulates from ships. In 2009, more than 90 percent of vessels participated in the program, slowing their ships in the 20 nm zone, while more than 70 percent slowed down within the 40 nm zone.

In return for their participation — at least 90 percent of the time in a calendar year — the vessel operators can earn dockage rate reductions, as well as help improve air quality in the greater Long Beach area.

Vessels that dock at the Port of Long Beach can also earn the coveted Green Flag environ­mental achievement award for extraordinary compliance with the program for a 12-month period.

The speed of every vessel in the speed reduction zone is measured and recorded by the Marine Exchange of Southern California. The program prevents more than 1,000 tons a year of air pollution.