Monday, April 24, 2017

Port Discount Scheme for Green Vessels a Boost for Car Carriers, Container Ships and Tankers

Operators Rewarded for Reduced Emissions
Shipping News Feature
UK – The Port of London is the second biggest port in the UK with some seventy terminals, handling supplies of life's essentials, from food, drink and consumer goods to fuel, cars and building materials. Now some of the 10,000 merchant vessels which call at facilities in the Thames every year are able to claim the country's first port charge discount for cleaner ships. In the first quarter of 2017 sixty six vessels, including container ships, bulk tankers and car carriers were able to claim their bonus for exceeding international emissions standards set by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in a scoring scheme run by the World Ports Climate Initiative.

The Port of London Authority (PLA) adopted a target emissions standard on 1 January, a ‘Green Tariff’ comparable to other European ports offering emissions related discounts. It is set suitably high, vessels need to meet an Environmental Shipping Index (ESI) score of 30, or above, so that significant improvements need to be made in order to achieve it, so the discount will provide regular callers to ports with a green tariff an incentive to invest in cleaner technologies. PLA chief executive, Robin Mortimer explained:

“We introduced this incentive as part of a broad programme of work to address concerns about air quality, particularly in urban areas. Alongside the discount for cargo ships, we are working with the Greater London Authority (GLA) and Transport for London (TfL) to develop a Thames air quality strategy.

“It’s great to see that we’ve already got some of the largest vessels calling in the port qualifying for the discount. It’s one way in which we can incentivise ship owners to invest in the latest environmental technologies. Alongside the discount we are also looking at air quality on the river in central London and how we continuously improve the environmental performance of our own operations”.

As air quality is a strategic priority, the PLA has commissioned a series of studies that will report over the next six months assessing: the scope for shore side power (also known as ‘cold ironing’); the air emissions for comparable road and river journeys; and an emissions inventory with TfL. The research will be used to help shape the Thames’ first air quality strategy that the PLA, GLA and TfL will to publish before the end of the year.

The PLA’s own operations are under regular review to help reduce the organisation’s environmental impact across the 95 miles of tidal river. The PLA has shore side power at several of its piers on the Thames, used to charge batteries that power its boats’ navigation and other safety equipment, without running the engines, and to warm the engine without idling. Dave Fallows, PLA mechanical & electrical engineer, observed:

“Shore side power can make a significant contribution to reducing riverside emissions. We will be adding a large land side power supply at our Barrier Garden Pier at Woolwich, so that our biggest boat, London Titan, can charge while working on the river in central London. Our team is looking at trialling an electric power unit in one of our upriver harbour patrol boats. Installation will be technically challenging, because the batteries take up so much space. Electric power is increasingly well established, so I’m expecting the trial to show the unit to be reliable and cost effective, setting a benchmark for the rest of the fleet.”

Waterborne shipping, both at sea and on inland waterways, is one of the most environmentally friendly methods of moving large volumes of goods and materials. The Thames Vision, the 20-year development framework targets growing river use, alongside the Thames being the cleanest since the Industrial Revolution.