Starting in 2019, ships participating in the Environmental Ship Index (ESI) in working towards reducing air emissions may apply for up to 8 per cent discount on tonnage fees in the harbours of the Port of Tallinn. The new port pricing system involving differentiated port fees is aimed at encouraging shipping companies to adopt environmentally friendlier technologies and thus also contribute to the health of Baltic Sea ecosystem.
“All the vessels sailing on the Baltic Sea must, naturally, meet current applicable environmental regulations,” said Ellen Kaasik, the Head of Quality and Environmental Management of the Port of Tallinn. “Our aim as the landlord port is, as do many our counterparts around the world, to encourage shipping companies to make extra efforts for adopting sustainable solutions and thus for protecting the fragile ecosystem of our Baltic Sea.”
According to Margus Vihman, the CCO and Member of the Management Board of the Port of Tallinn, an equally important consideration in differentiating the fees on the basis of environmental performance is the impact such measure will have on the local communities.
“The Port of Tallinn as a socially responsible company views environmental protection as one of the pillars of our business. And motivating our partners in the shipping industry to contribute to reducing air pollution will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the overall quality of life in the communities we operate,” he noted.
The differentiated port fees to be introduced in January 2019 are based on the international Environmental Ship Index (ESI), which evaluates the amount of air pollution emitted by a ship, the vessel’s energy savings measures as well as readiness to connect the ship to onshore power supply.
To receive the discount, ships must hold a specific ESI score. Vessels with the ESI score of 80 and above may apply for a discount of 8 per cent on tonnage fees. For ships with the ESI score between 65 and 79.9, the applicable discount is 3 per cent.
“Over 50 ports worldwide are using the index to reward ships that are contributing to better environmental performance, including our closest neighbour Helsinki, Europe’s leading ports of Rotterdam, Antwerp and Hamburg as well as several others,” Margus Vihman pointed out. “And the more ports in a particular shipping route reward sustainable and innovative solutions, the more motivating it is for shipping companies – in Port of Tallinn’s harbours alone that reward may amount to tens and even hundreds of thousands of euros in tonnage fees per year.”
Ellen Kaasik, Head of Quality and Environmental Management, noted that the use of the ESI score for differentiated port fees rewards not only the newest LNG or electricity powered vessels, but also other ships that have the highest fuel efficiency and use special equipment to reduce air emissions.
The Environmental Ship Index, a project under the World Ports Sustainability Program, identifies seagoing ships that perform better in reducing air emissions than required by the current emission standards of the International Maritime Organization.
The ESI evaluates the amount of nitrogen oxide (NOx) and sulphur oxide (SOx) that is emitted by a ship; it includes a reporting scheme on the greenhouse gas emission of the ship. The ESI is a perfect indicator of the environmental performance of oceangoing vessels and will assist in identifying cleaner ships in a general way.
The Port of Tallinn first introduced differentiated port fees in 2014, when discounts were made available for cruise vessels sorting their waste. From early 2018, all vessels using LNG as their primary fuel have been offered a tonnage fee discount of 4 per cent, which will double in January 2019 for ships with the ESI of 80 or more.
The Port of Tallinn is also one of the pioneers amongst EU ports in providing incentives for ships that have invested in scrubbers for reducing sulphur compounds in their emissions and accepts the waste generated by scrubbers without charging additional fees, on account of waste fee.
The implementation of differentiated port fees in various EU ports is also one of the principles of Green Cruise Port project co-financed by the EU through the INTERREG BSR programme, which unites ports and cruise tourism sector companies in the countries on the Baltic Sea and the North Sea.
The members of the Green Cruise Port network are working on projects designed to integrate the Baltic Sea region into a better whole by way of innovative and sustainable solutions, taking into account the full potential of the cruise ship industry.