New report examines port-based incentives to boost green shipping 

IMO - emission

Ports play an important role in reducing the global carbon footprint of maritime shipping, says a new report by the International Transport Forum (ITF), an arm of Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

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.

While the focus is naturally on the ships themselves, portside measures can significantly add to the environmental performance of shipping and the decarbonisation of maritime transport, the ITF report says.

“Today, 28 of the 100 world’s largest ports (in terms of total cargo volume handled) offer incentives for environmentally-friendly ships.

“Some US ports offer reductions for ships reducing speed when approaching the port. The Panama Canal Authority provides priority slot allocation to greener ships; Spain includes environmental incentives in the tender and license criteria for the towage services provided in ports; Shanghai has an emission-trading scheme that includes ports and domestic shipping.

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

“Thus any incentives that ship-owners currently have to order more efficient ships with lower emissions can only to a very small extent be a result of port-based incentives,” ITF Head of Communications, Michael Kloth said in a statement he sent by email on Wednesday to SHIPS & PORTS DAILY. 

The report recommended acknowledgement of the important role of ports in mitigating shipping emissions; expansion port-based incentives for low-emission ships; linking port-based incentives to actual greenhouse gas emissions; and moving to a more harmonised application of green port fees.

“Ports clearly play a hugely important role in helping the shipping sector to manage the transition to clean shipping”, said Olaf Merk, ports and shipping expert at ITF. “Port-based incentives for greenhouse emission mitigation could provide an important supporting role.”

The work for the report was carried out with support from the Environmental Defense Fund Europe.