Enforcement of California’s new At-Berth Regulation began on 1 January 2023

Whilst container, reefer, and passenger vessels are so far the only vessel types required to control their emissions while berthed in California, from 1 April 2023, all vessels must submit a report to the authorities within 30 days after visiting one of the state’s ports.

Since 2014, emissions from container, refrigerated cargo (reefer), and passenger vessels have been controlled at-berth through the California Resource Board’s (CARB) 2007 At-Berth Regulation. However, in December 2020 a new At-berth Regulation was approved, with more stringent air emission control and reporting requirements set to take effect from 1 January 2023.

The new 2020 At-berth Regulation broadens the scope of the previous regulation by expanding emission control requirements to more vessels, including two additional vessel types: tanker and ro-ro vessels, and including new ports and terminals that serve these vessel types. Changing from a 25-visit fleet-based threshold to a 20-visit terminal-based threshold, also increases the number of the already-regulated vessel types, i.e. container, reefer and passenger vessels, subject to emission control requirements.

Emission control requirements
As a general principle, all ocean-going vessels are subject to the 2020 At Berth Regulation. However, and as detailed in our alert Prepare for tougher at-berth emissions reductions in California, only container, reefer, passenger, ro-ro and tanker vessels must reduce emissions while at berth. That is, unless the vessel is visiting a berth that is at a low activity terminal, i.e. a terminal that receives less than 20 visits from that vessel type per calendar year. Compliance with the emission control requirements of the new regulation is phased in over time in accordance with the following implementation schedule:

Reporting requirements
All vessel categories, including bulk and general cargo vessels, have visit reporting requirements under the new 2020 At-Berth Regulation. In practice, this means that all vessels, regardless of whether a vessel or terminal has emission control requirements, must submit a report to CARB within 30 days after visiting a California marine terminal.

The initial implementation date of the reporting requirement was to be 1 January 2023. However, in a Notice of 20 January 2023, CARB advised that the reporting implementation date has been delayed by four months due to unforeseen circumstances caused by a series of storms that hit California in the first few weeks of 2023. Hence, no vessel visit report under any of the specific reporting provisions listed in the new regulation is due until 1 April 2023, say CARB, but adds that it encourages those that can achieve the reporting timeframes set forth in the new regulation to continue to do so. It is also worth noting that ro-ro and tanker vessels have the same visit reporting requirements as other vessels, which means that these vessel types must submit visit reports to CARB also in the period leading up to the deadline for complying with the emission control requirements.

Additional resources
The new 2020 At-Berth Regulation in its entirety can be downloaded from CARB’s webpage: Ocean-Going Vessels At Berth Regulation. The page also contains links to other useful documents, such as the list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) and templates to assist with the visit new reporting requirements.
Source: Gard, https://www.gard.no/web/articles?documentId=34923703

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