Port of Antwerp Financially Encourages Environment-Friendly Ships

In order to further reduce emissions of pollutants such as NOx and SOx, the Port Authority is to reward "clean ships" calling at the port of Antwerp. As of July 1, the most environment-friendly ships will be granted a discount of 10 percent on the tonnage dues. This measure follows on from an initiative by the International Association of Ports and Harbours, in which the port authorities of Le Havre, Bremen, Hamburg, Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Antwerp introduced the Environmental Ship Index. Shipping companies can register their ships for this index at http://www.environmentalshipindex.org. On the basis of the data entered, such as fuel consumption and emissions, each ship is given a score on a scale from 0 to 100 (from highly polluting to emission-free). So far more than 250 ships have been given a score. The ports themselves decide what advantages to offer participating ships.

In the case of Antwerp, seagoing ships with a score of 31 or more will be granted a discount of 10 percent on the tonnage dues. The Port Authority will guarantee this discount for a period of at least three years, so offering continuity for shipping companies that invest in improving the ESI score of their ships.

If fewer than 25 seagoing ships qualify for the discount, then the Port Authority will reward the 25 vessels with the highest ESI score. This latter measure applies until the end of 2011 and has been introduced to encourage shipping companies to register their vessels for the index. The ships that qualify for a discount will be determined every three months on the basis of an update of the ESI. The Port Authority will then make the discount available retroactively for the past quarter. For example, the ESI for seagoing ships calling at Antwerp during the period April 1 to June 30 will be determined on July 1.

The introduction of the ESI forms part of the Port Authority's policy of sustainable development of the port. This new international standard is a useful tool for port authorities to promote investments in more environment-friendly ships. Antwerp Port Authority uses low-sulphur fuel for its own fleet. In addition, ships and barges are able to use onshore power supplies at various locations in the port, so they do not have to run their engines while at berth.