The port authorities of Antwerp, Hamburg, Rotterdam, Le Havre and Bremen/Bremerhaven strongly support the submissions of the North Sea and the Baltic countries to designate the North Sea and the Baltic Sea as Nitrogen Emission Control Areas (NECA) by 2021. The ports have called upon the Maritime Environmental Protection Committee members to support these submissions during their 70th Session to be held on the October 28-29, 2016 in London.
European Ports are experiencing tremendous pressure to reduce their environmental footprint. Ports that accommodate important industrial clusters and are located in the vicinity of residential areas and/or Natura 2000 sites in particular feel the urgency to reduce their emissions in order to maintain their license to operate. With the submission to designate the North Sea and Baltic Sea as a NECA there is a huge opportunity to further decrease the harmful impact on the environment.
The shipping industry is responsible for an increasing share of (nitrogen-oxide) emissions which contribute to nitrogen depositions in protected Natura 2000 sites and to NOx-concentration levels in residential areas. Whereas significant advances have been made to curb nitrogen emissions from land-based sources, the shipping industry has despite some first initiatives not yet been able to achieve the same results.
International studies have shown that the designation of an NECA is a (cost)effective way to reduce NOx-emissions from seagoing vessels. There is a range of proven technologies available to comply with these NECA requirements including dual fuel engines or pure gas engines that can operate on liquefied natural gas (LNG), selective catalytic reduction (SCR) and exhaust gas recirculation (EGR).
Global standards implemented by the International Maritime Organization provide the building blocks to effectively reduce emissions from maritime transport. The IMO NOx Tier III requirements for vessels built from 2021 onwards and operating in Nitrogen Emission Control Areas are the key instrument for NOx-reduction. These requirements push down NOx-emissions, which have detrimental effects on air quality and health, by about 75% compared to the Tier II, which are requirements that apply for all vessels built since 2011.
Consequently the port authorities of Antwerp, Hamburg, Rotterdam, Le Havre and Bremen/Bremerhaven would like to express their active support for the designation of the North and Baltic Sea as NECA from 2021.
The move by ports follows the shipping industry's recent pressure on the IMO for emissions control.