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Package of measures reduces emission of harmful substances by 10 per cent

In February 2009, Friends of the Earth Netherlands and the Port Authority signed an agreement about a package of measures reducing the emission of damaging substances in the port. The emission of NOX (nitrogen oxides), PM10 (fine particles) and SO2 (sulphur dioxide) will thus be 10 per cent less in 2020 than was predicted in the Maasvlakte 2 Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). This means in fact an annual reduction of 25 tons of fine particles, 166 tons of sulphur dioxide and 380 tons of nitrogen oxides. This is roughly the emission of all the cars in the city of Utrecht.

The measures now selected by the Port Authority and Friends of the Earth Netherlands together ensure a reduction of over 10 per cent. If some measures are not feasible for unforeseen reasons, or do not yield the expected results, it's not a case of man overboard. Moreover, in the coming years new measures can be added. This flexibility is laid down in the agreement. The effects are mapped out to establish whether the envisaged reductions are achieved.

The package of measures with which the Port Authority and Friends of the Earth Netherlands intends to realise the 10 per cent reduction includes:

  • Port Authority's own vessels
    Some twenty patrol boats will be active almost permanently in the port area. The Port Authority will determine annually which vessels in its own fleet will come up for overhaul. The Port Authority will decide based on new developments and experience (pilot studies) what emission-reducing techniques can be applied.
  • Dredgers
    On average, two dredgers will be continuously at work to keep the port basins at the correct depth. During new tendering processes for maintenance dredging activities, the Port Authority will impose extra requirements to combat the emission of SO2 and fine particles.
  • Shore power for ocean-going vessels
    The Port Authority is making the quays at Maasvlakte 2 suitable to install quay power. This means that facilities and room will be created so that, when shore power is implemented, its installation is relatively straightforward. Shore power can be an effective measure (when ships are moored, they use mains electricity rather than their own, more polluting generators), but it is only realistic if there is a worldwide standard and more shipping companies and ports start to implement it. Moreover, a source-targeted approach, for example new IMO regulations for clean engines and fuel, is preferred. These measures lead to a reduction in emissions not only at the quay but also at sea. The Port Authority is following the developments and remains in discussion with the shipping companies and terminal operators about the best approach.
  • Terminals
    When commercial sites are released and tendered for at Maasvlakte 2, sustainability is an important selection criterion. This applies both to the sites already released and those still to be released. In this way, it is ensured that sustainable terminals are realised, in which electricity, rather than the usual diesel engines, is mainly used for propulsion.
  • Shuttles to container transfer depots
    A container transfer depot is being realised in Alblasserdam in order to transport large numbers of containers between Maasvlakte and Alblasserdam by water rather than road. The Port Authority is a firm supporter of the use of clean shuttle ships for this transport.
  • Shipping traffic management
    The Port Authority is entering into discussion with various relevant stakeholders to optimise the traffic management and information provision, so that it is expected that ships will use less fuel in the approaches in the North Sea and in the port. The intention is to optimise the sailing speed, knowing in advance when a ship can get a place at the quay. This not only saves fuel (and emissions), but avoids unnecessary waiting.
  • The Port Authority is giving the cleanest ships a discount on port dues.
    The Environmental Ship Index was developed in an international context as a guideline for this purpose. Partly thanks to the agreement with Friends of the Earth Netherlands, the Port Authority is playing a leading role in this.  By now, other ports are following this example.

The implementation of a number of extra measures has already started; others are still in the research and discussion stage. For example, since 1 January 2011 Rotterdam has given a discount to ships that score highly on the Environmental Ship Index. However, the implementation of shore power for ocean-going vessels is not nearly so advanced.

So far, the Port Authority has spent around €2.5 million on research and implementation of this package. The expectation is that the Port Authority's total investment in the coming ten years could reach €15 to €25 million. Besides this, the business sector is also investing in a number of these measures.