General Discussion

IMO commissioned a study on ship-port interface in 2014 [MEPC 68/INF.16] that is widely looking at many aspects of ship-port interface including the green initiatives. Based on this study a survey of stakeholder was conducted. These stakeholders included representatives from port authorities and terminals, ship owners and operators, equipment manufacturers as well as governmental and regulatory authorities. This section mainly taken from this study discussed some the issues raised.

All stakeholders indicated that air pollution is a major environmental challenge. On international or regional regulations, these have specific and high impacts on ship owners and operators but not necessarily ports. When it comes to port-ship interface green initiatives, the lack of a sound business case was widely reported by the stakeholders as the largest barrier to the implementation of various initiatives. This lack of business case issue is closely related to the reason that regulation is reported in the survey as the most effective driver.

On the other hand, voluntary and financial instruments leave room for individual decisions and evaluations regarding the use of advanced technologies or other measures, but also require a business case to be driven by factors beyond direct return on investment.

The availability of energy infrastructure, for example with LNG bunkering or connection to OPS, was also reported as a barrier, and is closely connected to the problem of having an insufficient business case. Subsidies may be needed to address this barrier, followed by fine-tuned regulation that considers local circumstances and cost effectiveness of the measures on the basis of clear criteria.

In addition to regulations, it is cited that the number of voluntary and financial incentive schemes has grown significantly in recent years. Various schemes have been implemented in Asian ports (Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Singapore), providing discounted port dues to visiting ships using low sulphur fuel. The ESI as explained is the most widely implemented and is still growing from its current participation involving over 3,000 ships and 24 ports. However, compared to the overall number of cargo ships in operation worldwide, the share of ships joining such voluntary schemes is estimated to be around 5%. As a consequence, the effectiveness of voluntary schemes is limited on the worldwide level. It can however be effective at smaller scale, such as the port level, where a smaller portion of the overall fleet can be targeted and incentives can be tailored in a way that incrementally enhances (without entirely satisfying) the business case for adoption of measures.

Maintaining a level playing field among ports when implementing financial incentives schemes or regulations is a challenge. Partnering with other regional stakeholders by harmonizing the requirements for ships may increase the effectiveness of instruments, while the regional level playing field is maintained. There are ship owners implementing voluntary measures and participating in voluntary and incentive-based programs set up mainly by port authorities (MariEMS 2017).