Environmental friendly practices in ports etc…

Modern economies are built upon interconnected transport modes. Before reaching its final destination, freight often travels via a number of modes of transport – for instance, by ship from Asia to a European port, by rail from the port to a distribution center further inland and, finally, by truck to the final point of destination. Within this transport mode, the maritime segment of the trip is currently the most cost effective and environmentally friendly method of transporting large quantities of goods over long distances. Short-sea shipping also serves as a valuable method to reduce congestion on Europe’s already busy road networks.


Source: IMO and NTM, Sweden


Recent environmental regulatory measures as well as business developments affecting the shipping industry will have an impact on the cargo handling sector. 

Among others, gigantism of vessels will inevitably lead to an increase in cargo being handled in European ports and, therefore, the amount of movements required by vehicles on Terminals.

To meet the environmental challenge and assure a promt and effective response to the marker demand, , terminal operators have voluntary started introducing measures over the past number of years aiming at reducing their emissions significantly. Operators are phasing out old yard equipments and quay cranes and replacing them with greener engines. The world’s largest terminal operators have also implemented management system to monitor their environmental performances; common methodology for reporting their carbon footprint, the EEEG guidelines, which allows operators to calculate their total emissions per container year on year, has been also developed.

Terminals throughout the European Union are working towards the creation of green infrastructure, the use of LED lights throughout terminals are becoming commonplace and green buildings are being developed to house operator staff. It is also worth highlighting that the use of “E” yard equipment (e.g RTGs powered by electicity) is growing among the main operators. Green training is becoming more commonplace as operators have begun to train staff to operate vehicles in an energy efficient manner. This all leads to emission reductions within European terminals.

The ultimate goal of environmental initiatives is to reduce emissions. Environmental responsibility, joint with the fact the excessive emissions means excessive fuel consumption which in turn leads to greater costs, has led to operators taking the above mentioned measures to reduce emissions. Terminal operators in the European Union are committed to emissions reductions and working with the European institutions to establish methods for emissions reductions which have a real impact on the environment, are business friendly and do not create unnecessary administrative burdens.


Examples of Directives and Regulations in the field of environment applicable to port operations:


  • The Bathing Water Directive
  • The Dangerous Substances Directive
  • The Wild Birds Directive
  • The Health and Safety in the Workplace Directive
  • The Shellfish Directive
  • The Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive
  • The Habitats Directive
  • The Environmental Impact Assessment Directive
  • The Waste Reception Facilities Directive
  • The Water Framework Directive
  • The Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive and
  • The Environmental Liability Directive


EU actions on safety and environment protection

The EU approach is that international standards must be rigorously upheld, but unfortunately quite a number of flag States are systematically ignoring or seriously failing to implement and enforce international safety standards. As a result, although maritime safety is traditionally based on the role of flag states, the European Union considered it appropriate to complete the flag state approach by the port state approach where inspections by the states where ports are located are seen by many as the most effective tool to reduce substandard shipping in their waters. With the "Erika" and "Prestige" accidents off the European coasts, shortcomings of the European standards were highlighted. It was then decided to strengthened the existing legislations and complete them with new measures.

The European Union has built its legislation on IMO Resolutions and the work by the Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control which since 1982 provides the framework to carry out their inspection duties. In 2009, as a part of the 3rd Maritime Safety Package, the European Parliament and Council adopted Directive 2009/16/EC which ensures that, as of 1 January 2011, the "New Inspection Regime" (NIR) of the Paris MoU applies in all the EU coastal states plus Canada, Croatia, Iceland, Norway and the Russian Federation. The NIR is based on an advanced IT information system ("THETIS") managed by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA). It will enable the participating countries to have all merchant ships calling into European ports (more than 70,000 ships movements per year) under continuous control and track the performance of flag states, recognised organisations and individual shipping companies. The NIR will benefit quality shipping, concentrating inspection efforts on risky ships and low performance companies. Good operators will benefit from less frequent inspections.


Port reception facilities for ship-generated waste and cargo residues

Regrettably, despite the entry into force of the MARPOL 73/78 Convention on the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, polluting substances continue to be discharged, often illegally. Directive 2000/59/EC aims at ensuring a consistent reduction in marine pollution by requiring provision of adequate waste reception facilities in all EU ports including recreational ports and marinas. The Directive also provides instruments to ensure that all ships, including fishing vessels and recreational craft, visiting these ports deliver their waste in facilities rather that at sea.
Ship-Source Pollution

A regime was introduced with Directive 2005/35/EC on ship-source pollution and on the introduction of sanctions for pollution offences, which tackles discharges in all sea areas including the high seas and is enforceable for all ships calling to EU ports irrespective of their flag. It provides for cooperation between port State authorities, which will make it possible for proceedings to be initiated in the next port of call. Furthermore, it aims at enhancing cooperation among Member States to detect illegal discharges and to develop methods to identify a discharge as originating from a particular ship. The European Maritime Safety Agency will assist the Commission and Member States to that end.
Marine equipment

The uniform application of international testing standards and procedures for type-approval of marine equipment is ensured through Directive 96/98/EC. The Directive will be replaced by Directive 2014/90/EU from 18 September 2016. Both Directives aim at guaranteeing the harmonisation of safety rules on board of EU flagged ships through the uniform application of the international instruments relating to equipment. Certified equipment is then allowed to circulate freely within the EU. In addition, Directive 2014/90/EU introduces a simpler system for the transposition of EU legislation, strengthens the requirements for the notification and control of conformity assessment bodies and enhances market surveillance. It also mandates the Commission to carry out a cost-benefit analysis concerning the use of electronic tagging in order to prevent counterfeiting and for market surveillance purposes.


Ship recycling

 “An EU strategy for better ship dismantling” describes the general objective of the EU strategy: “To ensure that ships with a strong link to the EU (flag and/or ownership) are dismantled only in safe and environmentally sound facilities worldwide, in line with the Ship Recycling Convention.”
In order to reach this objective, the EC proposed the following action areas and tools:
• Early implementation of the HKC, by transposing key elements into Community law;
• Clean dismantling of warships and other government vessels (which are outside the scope of the HKC): assess the option to include warships and other government vessels in the ship recycling measures for clean dismantling;
• Clearance regarding application and better enforcement of the EU Waste Shipment Regulation (WSR): According to the 2009 Council Conclusions, the EC should clear the relation between the HKC and the WSR by 2010 and prepare legislative proposals if appropriate. Clarification on this issue could be achieved by a combination of measures such as: 
- guidance from the EC on the application of the WSR to end-of-life ships,
- increased multilateral cooperation and exchange of experiences/best practices within the EU;
- Encouraging voluntary industry interim measures: during the interim period (before entry into force of the HKC) voluntary action by the shipping industry is particularly welcomed, as: it is the simplest and quickest way to change practices; the financial burden for shipowners would not be excessive;  it falls within the principles of producer responsibility and “polluter pays”.


Environmental Council conclusions

The Environment Council meeting of the 21 October 2009 concluded that:
• the safe and environmentally sound management of ship recycling is a priority for the EU
• EU implementation should focus on early ratification of the HKC by Member States, interim measures (incl. guidance to Member States and voluntary action by stakeholders) and additional EU-specific legislation
• the Commission should clarify the relation between the HKC and the WSR by 2010 and, if appropriate, prepare legislative proposals to solve this matter
• cooperation between international organizations, recycling countries and other stakeholders should be increased, with active support regarding projects to upgrade facilities and implementation of the HKC by recycling countries


Current situation

In 2010, the European Commission adopted a Communication on the Assessment of the link between the IMO Hong Kong Convention, the Basel Convention and the EU Waste Shipment Regulation.
In 2012, the European Commission published a Proposal for the Regulation on Ship Recycling (COM/2012/0118 final).


Objective of the Regulation

The Regulation covers agreement on the requirements for recycling facilities and certification of facilities located in other countries, as well as on so-called ‘built structures’ for recycling.
Under the terms of the compromise agreement between Parliament and Council, within three years of the Regulation entering into force, the Commission is required to formulate a feasibility proposal on an incentive mechanism.
The objective of the Regulation is to reduce the negative impacts linked to the recycling of EU-flagged ships, especially in South Asia, without creating unnecessary economic burdens. It brings into force an early implementation of the requirements of the 2009 Hong Kong Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, therefore contributing to its global entry into force.

The new Ship Recycling Regulation will apply to large commercial seagoing vessels flying the flag of the EU Member State, and to ships flying the flag of the third country calling at EU ports or anchorages. In order to ensure legal clarity and avoid administrative burdens, ships covered by the new legislation would be excluded from the scope of the Waste Shipment Regulation (EC) 1013/2006.

The Regulation sets out a number of requirements for European ships, European ship owners, ship recycling facilities willing to recycle European ships, and the relevant competent authorities or administrations. It also requires the Commission to adopt a number of acts implementing the Regulation (in particular the European List of ship recycling facilities authorized to recycle ships flying the Union flag).

According to the new rules, the installation or use of certain hazardous materials on ships will be prohibited or restricted. These hazardous materials include asbestos, ozone-depleting substances, PCBs, PFOS, and anti-fouling compounds and systems. Each new European ship (or a ship flying a flag of the third country calling at EU port or anchorage) will be required to have on board an inventory of hazardous materials verified by the relevant administration or authority and specifying the location and approximate quantities of those materials.

European ship owners will have to ensure that ships are only recycled in ship recycling facilities included in the European List. They will have to ensure that each end-of-life ship is prepared for recycling. In order to do this, they will have to provide the necessary information about the ship to the ship recycling facility, notify the intention to recycle the ship to the relevant administration, provide an updated inventory of hazardous materials, and minimise the amount of cargo residues, remaining fuel oil and ship generated wastes remaining on board. They will also have to provide a ready for recycling certificate to the ship recycling facility which will recycle their ship.

Prior to any recycling of a European ship, a ship recycling plan will have to be developed by the operator of the ship recycling facility based on the information provided by the ship owner. The plan will contain information about the ship essential for its safe and sound treatment and thus will facilitate the work of the ship recycling facility. European ships will undergo surveys verifying compliance of the inventory of hazardous materials with the requirements of the Regulation.

EU Member States' port authorities will be authorised to control European ships to verify whether they have on board a ready for recycling certificate or a valid inventory of hazardous materials, whatever is relevant.

In order to be included in the European List, any ship recycling facility irrespective of its location will have to comply with a number of requirements. The Commission will assess the applications received from the ship recycling facilities located in third countries. For facilities located in the EU Member States, this assessment will be done by national authorities and its result will be provided to the Commission. The European List will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and on the website of the Commission at the latest thirty six months after the date of entry into force of this Regulation (i.e. at the latest by the end 2016). The Commission will be able to regularly update the European List in order to include or remove a ship recycling facility from the List.


Legislative procedure

On 27 June 2013, the Council had endorsed a compromise text of the new Ship Recycling Regulation agreed with the European Parliament.
The European Parliament had formally adopted the Regulation in plenary on 22 October 2013, followed by the Council on 15 November 2013.
The EU Ship Recycling Regulation was published in the Official Journal of the EU on 10 December 2013.


Port reception facilities

In 2000 the European Community adopted Directive 2000/59/EC on port reception facilities, with the aim of substantially reducing discharges of ship-generated waste and cargo residues into the sea.
This Directive especially aims at reducing illegal discharges from ships using ports in the EU by improving the availability and use of port reception facilities, thereby enhancing the protection of the marine environment.
Key requirements of the PRF Directive include:
• An obligation for the Member States to ensure the availability of PRF adequate to meet the needs of ships normally visiting the port, without causing undue delay.
• Ports have to develop and implement a waste reception and handling plan, following consultation with relevant parties (in particular port users). These plans shall be evaluated and approved by the competent authority in the Member State.
• The master of a ship has to complete a notification form and forward it in due time (at least 24 hours prior to arrival), informing the port of call about the ship's intentions regarding the delivery of ship-generated waste and cargo residues.
• A mandatory delivery for all ship-generated waste, however taking into account a possibility for the vessel not to deliver waste if it has sufficient dedicated waste storage capacity till the next port of delivery.
• The implementation of a cost recovery system (applying a waste fee), providing an incentive to ships not to discharge ship-generated waste at sea.
• The establishment of an enforcement scheme, by which Member States ensure that any ship may be subject to inspection.

Beginning of November 2014, the European Commission has lauched a consultation to collect views on “the impact which the Directive 2000/59/EC on port reception facilities for ship-generated waste and cargo residues has had on the management, movement and final disposal of ship generated waste”.  The consultation might probably be a first step in a possible review of the port reception facilities directive.


Places of refuge

The problem of places of refuge for vessels following the series of accidents in recent years has raised the issue of liability and compensation rules for Places of refuge.
While some general international rules on liability for specific types of pollution apply, as well as relevant national civil and administrative laws and international rules on limitation of liability for maritime claims, there are no specific liability and compensation rules as such for Places-of-Refuge situations.

Acknowledging the need to assess the situation, the European Commission has published on November 2012 a report on “liability and compensation for
Financial damages sustained by places of refuge when accommodating a ship in need of assistance” (COM(2012) 715 final).

The report has concluded that the existing legal framework is satisfactory and pertinent as regards the reception of ships in a place of refuge.  It identified 3 layers of applicable law - international, EU and national – which are complementary. It also provided some recommendations for better implementation of the existing framework but does not identify any legal gap.

From our perspective, the report does not address some issues that could represent obstacles in ensuring the compensation for financial damages sustained by places of refuge when accommodating a ship in need of assistance.


The European Commission is working to improve citizens' quality of life and strengthen the economy by promoting sustainable urban mobility and increased use of clean and energy efficient vehicles.

New political challenges have emerged in recent years. Climate change, energy policy, air quality legislation and the difficulties of tackling congestion are just some examples. The objective now is to enhance mobility while at the same time reducing congestion, accidents and pollution in European cities.


Clean Power for Transport – Alternative fuels for sustainable mobility in Europe

Alternative fuels are urgently needed to break the over-dependence of European transport on oil. Transport in Europe is 94 % dependent on oil, 84 % of it being imported, with a bill up to EUR 1 billion per day, and increasing costs to the environment.

Research and technological development have led to successful demonstrations of alternative fuel solutions for all transport modes. Market take-up, however, requires additional policy action.

The Clean Power for Transport package aims to facilitate the development of a single market for alternative fuels for transport in Europe.

The final Directive, as adopted by the European Parliament and the Council on 29 September 2014 following the inter-institutional negotiations:

  • Requires Member States to develop national policy frameworks for the market development of alternative fuels and their infrastructure;
  • Foresees the use or common technical specifications for recharging and refuelling stations;
  • Paves the way for setting up appropriate consumer information on alternative fuels, including a clear and sound price comparison methodology.


The Member States have two years to submit their national policy frameworks. The Commission will then assess and report on those national policy frameworks in order to ensure coherence at Union level.

The work of experts from industry and civil society in the European Expert Group on Future Transport Fuels has been summarised in a report on "Future Transport Fuels" (Download more info) and a report on "Infrastructure for Alternative Fuels" (Download more info).

This European Expert Group on Future Transport Fuels is currently working on a third report that will be published by the end of 2014. National Experts from the Member States provided recommendations on the market development of alternative fuels in a report of the Joint Expert Group Transport & Environment (Download more info)

Different scenarios of alternative fuel development have been investigated in the "Study on Clean Transport Systems". Different options of alternative fuels infrastructure build-up have been evaluated in the "CTS Implementation Study on Alternative Fuels Infrastructure" assessed different options to develop an EU-wide alternative fuels infrastructure.


Sustainable transport

With growing freight and passenger transport, pollution and congestion risk is aggravating. The European Commission is working towards a form of mobility that is sustainable, energy-efficient and respectful of the environment.

Our aim is to disconnect mobility from its adverse effects. This means, above all, promoting co-modality, i.e. optimally combining various modes of transport within the same transport chain, which is the solution for the future in the case of freight. Technical innovation and a shift towards the least polluting and most energy efficient modes of transport — especially in the case of long distance and urban travel — will also contribute to a more sustainable mobility.

The European Commission published on 28/06/2013 the first progress report on the implementation of the "Sustainable Waterborne Transport Toolbox (Download more info).

The toolbox approach was originally proposed in September 2011 and since then further developed in order to promote compliance with – and minimise the possible negative impacts of – new environmental standards in maritime transport.

The toolbox measures are in particular aimed at dealing with the implementation of the 2008 International Maritime Organization (IMO) rules on the maximum level of sulphur for fuels and their subsequent introduction into EU legislation.

MORE: Download more info


Marco Polo - New ways to a green horizon

The results
In recent years, the European Union and its Member States have been at the forefront of improving maritime safety legislation and promoting high-quality standards. The aim is to eliminate substandard shipping, increase the protection of passengers and crews, reduce the risk of environmental pollution, and ensure that operators who follow good practices are not put at a commercial disadvantage compared to those who are prepared to take short cuts with vessel safety.

Whilst many flag States and owners are meeting their international obligations, their efforts are constantly undermined by those who do not play the game according to the rules. When operators break the rules on safety and environmental protection, they put crews and the environment at risk and in addition benefit from unfair competition.

EU action in the field of maritime safety and protection of the environment generates significant added value to the international framework as looked after by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). The transposition of IMO rules into the EU legal system ensures their enforcement across the entire EU. In addition, the EU plays an important role in improving international standards by initiating and contributing directly to their adoption at international level.

Shipping is of strategic importance to the EU economy: two billion tonnes of cargo are loaded and unloaded in EU ports every year while every year one billion tonnes of oil transits through EU ports and EU waters. This is why– the EU is constantly developing and intensifying its maritime safety policy which the aim eradicating substandard shipping, essentially through a convergent application of internationally agreed rules.

The "Erika" and the "Prestige" accidents encouraged the EU to drastically reform its existing regime and to adopt new rules and standards for preventing accidents at sea, in particular those involving oil tankers. The EU considerably reinforced its legislative arsenal to combat flags of convenience and give Europe better protection against the risks of accidental oil spills. With the Third Maritime Safety Package adopted in 2009, the EU has completed this legislative arsenal covering all chain of responsibility of the maritime sector.

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Source: European Commission