Report: 28 of 100 World’s Largest Ports Offer Incentives for Green Ships

Image Courtesy: Port of Long Beach

Today, 28 of the 100 world’s largest ports in terms of total cargo volume handled offer incentives for environmentally-friendly ships, a new report released by the International Transport Forum (ITF) shows. 

Greenhouse gas emissions from shipping currently represent around 2.6% of total global emissions. Without reduction measures, this share could more than triple by 2050.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) last week set a target of reducing shipping CO2 emissions by “at least” 50% by 2050 compared to 2008 levels. To achieve this, stringent measures now need to be put into place, according to the report.

Many of these measures focus on ship design and operations. However, ports also play an important role in reducing the global carbon footprint of maritime shipping, the report says.

Some US ports offer reductions for ships reducing speed when approaching the port. In addition, the Panama Canal Authority provides priority slot allocation to greener ships. What is more, Spain includes environmental incentives in the tender and license criteria for the towage services provided in ports, while Shanghai has an emission-trading scheme that includes ports and domestic shipping. Moreover, Norway has a NOx tax in place.

However, the impact of port-based incentives on global shipping emissions is said to be marginal. The only scheme for which serious impact studies exist is the vessel speed reduction scheme in Los Angeles and Long Beach in the United States.

As informed, green incentives typically apply to less than 5% of the ships calling at a port with an incentive scheme. Only five ports use CO2 emissions a substantial criterion for incentives.

Any incentives shipowners may currently have to order more efficient ships with lower emissions can only to a very small extent be a result of savings from port-based incentives, the report finds.

The report thus recommends to acknowledge the important role of ports in mitigating shipping emissions, expand port-based incentives for low-emission ships, link port-based incentives to actual GHG emissions and move to a more harmonized application of green port fees.

“Ports clearly play a hugely important role in helping the shipping sector to manage the transition to clean shipping,” Olaf Merk, ports and shipping expert at ITF, said.

“Port-based incentives for greenhouse emission mitigation could provide an important supporting role,” he added.

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