Main content area

An economic analysis of shipping costs related to potential changes in vessel operating procedures to manage the co-occurrence of maritime vessel traffic and whales in the Channel Islands region

Gonyo, Sarah Ball, Goedeke, Theresa L., Wolfe, K. Eric, Jeffrey, Christopher F.G., Gorstein, Matt, Poti, Matthew, Dorfman, Daniel S.
Ocean & coastal management 2019 v.177 pp. 179-187
coastal zone management, coasts, death, energy use and consumption, habitats, islands, shipping, traffic, whales, California
The Channel Islands region off the coast of southern California provides habitat to endangered whale populations and is home to the nation's two busiest ports: Long Beach and Los Angeles. The increase in number, size, and speed of ocean going vessels raises the potential for lethal vessel strikes on whales, and potentially the recovery of whale populations. This vessel strike issue has prompted several suggested changes in vessel operations, including vessel re-routing and speed reductions, to reduce the occurrence and lethality of vessel strikes. However, these changes may affect vessel transit times and costs to the shipping industry. This study characterizes the 2015 maritime shipping industry within the Channel Islands region and estimates the shipping costs associated with five alternative vessel operating procedures. Results suggest that shipping costs will decrease with re-routing vessels (1.6%–3.4%), but increase with vessel speed reductions (1.3%–2.0%), and that these changes will vary significantly across vessel categories. These differences can be explained by predicted changes in transit time and fuel consumption. The results of this study will not only provide local and federal management with additional information on the possible effects of each vessel operating procedure, but also provide a well-detailed framework for conducting future analyses.