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Ports clearly play a hugely important role in helping the shipping sector to manage the transition to clean shipping: ports and shipping expert at ITF

Out of 100 World’s largest ports in terms of total cargo volume handled, 28 of them offer incentives for environmentally-friendly ships, a new report released by the International Transport Forum (ITF) shows.

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, according to the report. 

Many of these measures focus on ship design and operations. However, ports also play an important role in reducing the global carbon footprint of maritime shipping, the report says.

The report lists ports that offer incentives: 

• 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.
 

The report thus recommends to:

• acknowledge the important role of ports in mitigating shipping emissions
• expand port-based incentives for low-emission ships;
• Link port-based incentives to actual greenhouse gas emissions; and
• move 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.

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