Page 40 - European Energy Innovation - autumn 2017 publication
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40  Autumn 2017 European Energy Innovation


Wind of Change in
Ports with Problems
Zero Emissions Terminals
shall be no exception

By Malte Siegert (pictured), Head of Environmental Policy, NABU Hamburg

Air pollution in and from                  exist, the limits are not strict enough      (IMO). But more ambitious standards
               ports is a serious problem  and, moreover, some are breached             for the waterside are waved away
               not only in the European    without consequences for the emitters.       with the argument of competition
               Union. Still the impacts    Moreover, for some pollutants, such as       and level playing field. If ports
on air quality seem underestimated         black carbon (BC), there are no limits       don’t dare themselves to demand
and little investigated. This is more of   at all.                                      certain technical requirements such
a problem where ports are located                                                       as abatement systems on board or
either close to or even in city centers    In contrast to the comparatively weak        mandatory use of onshore power
such as in Antwerp, Amsterdam and          regulation for ports and especially          supply (OPS), they could commit
Hamburg. Annually, air pollution           ships (inland as well as ocean going         themselves either in certain regionsfor
causes over 420,000 premature              vessels) road related regulation is          example the highly frequented “North
deaths throughout the European             quite strict in the European Union.          Range” with all European major ports-
Union. Of these, 50,000 premature          The Euro-Norms oblige car and truck          or in the Mediterranean. Why no
deaths are attributed to shipping          building companies to improve their          commitment from all European ports?
in European waters. Besides the            efficiency performance and installing        A common approach? Not even the
negative consequences for human            particulate filters and effective catalytic  European Commission would have to
health, air pollution from nitrogen        systems. In addition, diesel fuel            be asked, if all ports agreed on some
oxides (NOx), sulphur oxides (SOx),        used by the consumer has to be one           basics.
particulate matter (PM) and especially     hundred times cleaner than that what
its component black carbon (BC)            is demanded from ship owners or              Nevertheless, there is light on the
contributes to climate warming,            charterers, if they sail on MDO in the       horizon as the picture onshore is a
diminishes biodiversity, harms             European Sulphur Emission Control            little different. Although expectations
nature and damages buildings and           Area (SECA). Why? Most obviously,            of local port authorities towards
monuments.                                 impacts from road related traffic have       tenants are often low, their influence
                                           been acknowledged as extremely               limited and national or EU regulation
Ports are hubs of air pollution. Various   harmful to health, nature and climate        still insufficient, terminals themselves
emitters operate in numerous kinds         already decades ago. Ships mainly            try to mitigate their burden on
of transport and port machinery.           sail close to coastlines or enter major      local communities. The interest in
Diesel engines are equipped with little    waterways like Loire, Scheldt, Humber,       a good port-city-relation with little
exhaust treatment systems or even          Weser or Elbe. These waters flow             dispute is high, the awareness and
running on a comparatively dirty fuel.     parallel to highways or streets. The         sensitivity for the impacts of 24/7-port
Some of these forms of transports          big gap between both standards for           business in the public rising as urban
and machinery, such as ocean-going         streets and European waters does not         development tends to spread towards
vessels, do not fall under the strict(er)  make sense at all.                           the waterside.
land-based regulations, but enjoy
pollution privileges as allowed by         Politics and authorities are very well       That is why many terminals worldwide
international maritime laws. But even      aware of this. Ports could agree on          have started to electrify wherever
where - European or national - legal       stricter rules without permission of the     possible. Good for the working
limits for air emissions                   International Maritime Organization          conditions, the local air quality as

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