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    We Post Text of LB Harbor Comm'n President James Hankla's Speech @ "World Shipping (China) Summit" in Shenzhen, China; Speech Title: "It's Not Easy Bein' Green"

    (Nov. 6, 2006) -- LB Harbor Commission President James C. Hankla was among the featured speakers at the Nov 2-3 "World Shipping (China) Summit" (Nov. 2-3). [Background via event webpage, click here.]

    The topic of Harbor Commission President Hankla's speech was: "It's Not Easy Bein' Green." requested and received a copy of the text (we presume as prepared for delivery) and we post it in full below.

    [begin text]

    Long Beach Harbor Commission President
    James C. Hankla
    World Shipping (China) Summit
    Shenzhen, China
    November 3, 2006

    It is my honor and pleasure to address this impressive gathering this morning.

    First, on behalf of the Port of Long Beach and the Board of Harbor Commissioners, I want to thank the event organizers, especially the COSCO Group, and Captain Wei for his inspired leadership and for hosting this enormously informative event and for bringing together this distinguished assemblage of the world shipping community.

    This is a great opportunity for us to learn from each other, to renew friendships and to make new friends.

    I am going to talk to you about one of the major challenges we all face -- our growing environmental impacts. I will talk about what we are doing to minimize those impacts at the Port of Long Beach, what more we need to do, and why it is extremely important that all us join together to fight this challenge.

    This invitation to speak to you has also given me the chance to make my first visit to Shenzhen. This is truly an incredible city. In less than three decades, very creative, determined and hard-working people have transformed a small fishing village into a great mega-city with the world’s FOURTH busiest seaport and it has taken us generations to do it.

    I am particularly impressed because across the Pacific, very creative, determined and hard working people at the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles have developed world’s FIFTH busiest seaport.

    Our success in Long Beach, and I am sure the prosperity here in Shenzhen, is the result of planning hard work and the good fortune to be located on the Pacific Rim.

    All of us have prospered from the boom in international trade since the launch of containerized shipping 50 years ago. We all foresee another doubling or tripling of our trade volumes in the next 15 to 20 years.

    If we are to take advantage of these opportunities, we will need to make major investments to improve our port shipping terminals, bridges, roadways and railroads.

    If the Port of Long Beach is to remain one of the world’s great seaports, we will also have to make major investments in being a "green port," dedicated to protecting the community from the harmful environmental impacts of port operations not only must we di it we must convince our publics and our politicians we are doing all we can.

    Over the years, there has been much we have done to improve water quality and protect our marine habitats. But there is still much more that we must do such as significantly improving air quality.

    In America, we have a children’s television program called Sesame Street. My favorite Sesame Street character is Kermit the Frog, who as you must guess happens to be green. He sings a song called, "It’s not easy bein’ green."

    At the Port of Long Beach, it is a song we are all learning.

    We want to protect the environment, but it isn’t easy.

    The port doesn’t own any ships, trucks, trains or cargo-handling equipment. Yet, we are frequently targeted as the leading source for air pollution in the Los Angeles areas, which already has the worst air quality in the United States.

    We, the members of the Harbor Commission, do not have the authority to regulate air quality. We cannot pass a law to fines companies that pollute. We cannot establish air quality standards that they must meet. We are a government agency that serves like a real estate company leasing port facilities.

    And yet, the public and their elected representatives have made it very clear that it will not support our port improvement projects, and they will not allow us to move forward with our projects, if we don’t take immediate steps to greatly improve air quality.

    So what are we doing?

    We began by sending a strong, clear message to our staff and the industry that we take protecting the community very, very seriously.

    So all that we had done in the past was not enough. We needed to do much more. And we had to do it right now.

    We developed and enacted a Green Port Policy: a code of ethics for protecting the environment, the air and water quality, the soils and sediments, the marine wildlife habitats and the people of our community.

    The Policy calls for our staff at the Port of Long Beach to aim high, to be leaders in environmental stewardship. It isn’t enough for us to act. We need to lead. We want to establish a model for the world.

    With our Green Port Policy, we will do business in a sustainable way that protects the economic and environmental vitality of our community now and for future generations. For our children and their children.

    How are we doing this?

    As much as possible, we have called on our business partners to voluntarily join in our green port programs. Of course, we are asking them to make major investments, just as we will make major investments.

    We have joined with them in a project to retrofit yard equipment so it runs cleaner.

    We are offering "Green Flags" to honor vessel operators who reduce speeds in and out of our harbor so that their ships pollute less.

    As an added incentive, we are offering more than $2 million a year in discounted dockage fees for operators who comply with our Green Flag vessel speed reduction program.

    With our authority as landlords of the Port, we are negotiating environmental covenants into our terminal leases, with measures to modernize cargo-handling equipment and reduce emission from vessels at berth.

    Two of our enlightened customers have already signed "Green Leases": "K" Line through its subsidiary International Transportation Service, and the partnership of Matson Navigation and SSA Marine.

    Their investments combined with ours will cut air pollution by 90 percent from their operations. They see the benefit of growing their business with new leases and protecting the environment. There will be more Green Leases.

    Basically, if you want a lease for property at the Port of Long Beach, you will need to agree to a "green" leases. "We believe the juice will be worth the squeeze."

    However, make no mistake -- Everyone needs to understand, the only way for us to grow business at the Port of Long Beach is if we grow green together.

    There is no other way.

    Not only are we reaching out to our business partners, we are reaching out to our long time rival at the neighboring Port of Los Angeles and creating a new partnerships for the environment.

    In the fight to protect the environment, we are all on the same team. In the Los Angeles area, we obviously breathe the same air.

    Accordingly, we are collaborating with the Port of Los Angeles in a Clean Air Action Plan, which aims to reduce air pollution from port operations by 50 percent within the next five years. This plan will be presented within the next month.

    This will require public and private investments of about $2 billion. A little less than the cost of the Alameda Corridor Project, which was an important goods movement but also an environmental improvement project.

    The Plan requires the best technology and practices to protect the environment. It means bringing in a new, modern cargo-handling fleet -- trucks, yard-hostlers, ships and trains that meet the highest standards.

    Where it is appropriate, we are requiring "cold-ironing" -- a system where ships plug into electricity at the berth so they can shut off their polluting diesel engines.

    These are major investments for us and our business partners. Cold ironing will cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build power plants, other infrastructure and to make modifications to vessels. That’s why we are urging our customers to assure that the next generation of vessels be constructed to accommodate cold ironing.

    We recognize this may not be feasible for all ships.

    So, we are hosting tests of a "sock on a stack" technology that will place an air-tight tube over a ship’s smoke-stack, and funnel the air to a pollution scrubbing plant on the dock. [Previous coverage of this, click here]

    We are going to help finance a billion dollar program to replace all of the dirty diesel trucks working at the Port.

    In the search for the best technology, we are also hosting tests on hybrid yard tractors, which will pair a diesel engine with an electric motor -- like Toyota’s Prius automobiles.

    New technology will be part of our answer. When you tell creative people around the world that you will be spending $2 billion over the next five years to improve air quality, they come to you with lots creative and effective ways to spend that money.

    And we are getting lots of very good ideas on how we can get the job done.

    What more do we need to do?

    As you can see, we cannot do this alone.

    We need all of you, everyone in the goods movement industry to embrace this "green" ethic.

    Why should you?

    There is a huge payoff for all of us.

    This will pay off in a better environment and better health for the entire planet.

    Everyone should want to join in making this a better world. Air pollution and associated health problems knows no borders.

    Another reward is more business.

    Already some of our green partners are winning customers who want to use green shipping lines, just as we expect to gain customers who want to use a green port.

    But as I said, we have no choice.

    If we are to grow, and we must grow, we can only grow by going green. And we must do it with the international shipping community support.

    We cannot maintain public support for international trade without doing everything we can to minimize the negative environmental impacts of the goods movement industry. And we no longer deny those impacts, the health studies are too compelling.

    All of us need to do the right thing, for ourselves, for our kids and their kids.

    Every public agency, every business, every one here needs to go green.

    Kermit the Frog was right, "It’s not easy bein’ green."

    But by working together, we are making the Ports of San Pedro Bay the greenest, most environmentally friendly seaport in the world.

    And by working together, I am confident we can begin to improve the environment around the world. By working together we will make it easier on everyone.

    Thank you.

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