The port of Antwerp will grant a discount to seagoing ships that use alternative technology to reduce emissions of particulates. The new discount comes on top of the existing ESI discount, which means that in some cases ships can benefit from a 30% reduction in the port dues that have to be paid whenever they call at Antwerp. With this additional environmental discount Antwerp Port Authority seeks to encourage investments in green technologies for more sustainable shipping, by supporting and rewarding these technology pioneers. The discount is being introduced for a period of three years and will be gradually reduced.
Despite all efforts so far, shipping still makes a significant contribution towards local pollution, mainly in the form of SOx, NOx and particulates. Various regulatory initiatives to improve this situation have already been taken. One of these is the introduction of standards for sulphur emissions by seagoing ships in the so-called Sulphur Emission Control Areas (SECAs). To meet these stricter standards, ships must either improve the quality or type of fuel used (for example, by switching to low-sulphur fuel such as Marine Gas Oil or LNG), or must install post-combustion systems (e.g. exhaust gas scrubbers) to reduce emissions to acceptable levels. Most shipping companies have let it be known that they prefer to use low-sulphur fuels so as to comply with the stricter sulphur emission standards in the short term. However, the use of LNG or scrubbers offers better environmental performance than low-sulphur fuel, since in addition to reducing sulphur emissions it also cuts other emissions such as particulates and NO2.
Ships can claim the discount if they can demonstrate that they either make effective use of scrubbers (in closed mode) or are powered by LNG for a period of at least 24 hours before they call at the port of Antwerp. Ships powered by LNG can receive a discount of 20%, while those that make use of closed scrubbers can get a discount of 15%.