Despite all efforts so far, shipping still makes a significant contribution towards local pollution, mainly in the form of SOx, NOx and particulates. Various regulatory initiatives to improve this situation have already been taken. One of these is the introduction of standards for sulphur emissions by seagoing ships in the so-called Sulphur Emission Control Areas (SECAs). To meet these stricter standards, ships must either improve the quality or type of fuel used (for example, by switching to low-sulphur fuel such as Marine Gas Oil or LNG), or must install post-combustion systems (e.g. exhaust gas scrubbers) to reduce emissions to acceptable levels. Most shipping companies have let it be known that they prefer to use low-sulphur fuels so as to comply with the stricter sulphur emission standards in the short term. However, the use of LNG or scrubbers offers better environmental performance than low-sulphur fuel, since in addition to reducing sulphur emissions it also cuts other emissions such as particulates and NO2.
Particulates Action Plan
Antwerp Port Authority seeks to attract ships that make use of innovative, sustainable technology, encouraging them to come to Antwerp as the city and its port both suffer from high concentrations of air pollution such as particulates. The Particulates and NO2 Action Plan for the Port and City of Antwerp brings together the various measures that can be taken to reduce emissions of these polluting substances. The new discount system is one of the measures for tackling the environmental impact which ships have on the air quality in Antwerp.
Ships can claim the discount as of 1 June if they can demonstrate that they either make effective use of scrubbers (in closed mode) or are powered by LNG for a period of at least 24 hours before they call at the port of Antwerp. Ships powered by LNG can receive a discount of 20%, while those that make use of closed scrubbers can get a discount of 15%. The percentages will be gradually reduced as of 2016 in order to reward the “early adopters” who make the necessary investment now. The percentages for 2016 are set at 15% and 10% respectively, and for 2017 they will be 10% and 5%.
In addition to the particulates discount, more environment-friendly ships in the port of Antwerp have benefited from the ESI discount for some time now. The ESI (Environmental Ship Index) is based on a system of credits ranging from 0 to 100 that ships can earn for having environmental performance better than required by the regulations for NOx, SOx and CO2. Ships that obtain 31 or more credits can have their bill for port dues reduced by 10%. The ESI system is currently supported by 25 ports and so far has benefited 3,067 ships.
The introduction of the new discount forms part of the Port Authority’s sustainability policy, one of the main aims of which is to achieve a sustainable shipping industry.