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'Green' Ports: A Need of The Hour
As on December 2010, the world's fleet of propelled sea-going merchant ships of more that 100 GT comprised 1,03,392 ships of 958 million GT with an average age of 21 years (IMO). These ships ply in 3000 ports around the world. The marine vessels burn the dirtiest grade of diesel as bunker fuel and emit three per cent of world’s greenhouse gases, 14 per cent of world’s total NOx, which is 5-6 times more than what is emitted by aircraft each year and five per cent of world’s total SOx, which is more than what is contributed by world’s cars, trucks and buses together (International Council on Clean Transportation). As per the European studies international shipping kills about 50,000 people a year in the Europe and cost society about EUR 60 billion (USD 77 billion). In the estimation of worldwide environmental studies, maritime activity is responsible for 70 per cent of its total emissions within 400 kms of land. Thus, ships make significant contribution to air pollution in coastal and port areas (Ports & Harbors, July/August 2012).

Upto June 2011, legislation(s) governing emissions from the ships were introduced in piecemeal manner at regional levels. In July 2011, the IMO adopted amendments to Marpol Annex VI making the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) for new ships and Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) for existing ships mandatory from 2013. Under EEDI Regulations, ships built between 2015 and 2019 will have to improve their efficiency by 10 per cent rising to 20 per cent between 2020 and 2024, and by 30 per cent for ships delivered after 2024. Concessions, however, have been given to the developing countries with a waiver for new ships flagged in developing countries, which will delay application of EEDI in developing countries for six and a half years. This announcement is an indication of the increasing global drive to reduce shipping emissions and simultaneously bring about a general improvement in port's air quality (Ports & Harbors, September/October 2011).

In this backdrop, the ports in the developing countries may glean through the measures taken by the ports in developed countries to benefit from their experiences and control their environmental footprints.

In its recently published 'Green Guide', the ESPO has set about encouraging common actions by the port authorities by following 'Five Es' approach towards improving their environmental performance (www.porttechnology.org). This 'Five Es' approach with measures initiated by the ports in the developed countries is discussed below to indicate the areas in which initiatives by the ports can help maritime trade to control its carbon footprints.

Approach (1) Exemplifying: 'Port authorities to set good example by demonstrating excellence in managing the environmental performance of their own operations, equipment and assets'.

Cold Ironing: In 10 hours' stay at the port diesel engine of a vessel generates upto 20 tonnes of CO2. Shutting down the engine and using shore side power (cold ironing) off ers considerable environmental benefi t. In the Port of Gothenburg, Sweden, almost one third of the docked vessels has the opportunity to shut down their diesel engines at quayside and use land-based power supply. Similar facilities are created in other European ports (Ports & Harbors January/ February 2012). China has already included provision of shore connection to ships in the port for implementation in its 12th fi ve year plan which ends in 2015. Also, to encourage the ports to invest in such green technologies, several countries have implemented subsidy (Ports & Harbor, July / August 2012).

Harbor Crafts: In the year 2010, the ports of Los Angeles & Long Beach unveiled first hybrid electric tug boat which could perform with the same capacity as a traditional tug but with 45% less pollution (http://www.cbs2.com/video/?id+90741@ kcbs.day prot.com)

Berth & Yard Equipment: Eco Cranes: Th e Port of Felixstowe, UK installed eco-RTGs in 2010 with the lift capacity of 40 tonnes. Th e eco-technology through use of hybrid drive system based on fi nely tuned variable speed diesel power pack reduced emission by 40 per cent (cargosystems. net).

The Hongkong International Terminal installed environmental friendly hybrid rubber tyre gantry cranes for container operations in 2011. Th ese hybrid cranes consumed less fuel and reduced emission by 50 per cent (Moon, 2011).

Approach (2) Enabling: 'Providing operational and infrastructural conditions within the port area to facilitate the port users for better environmental performance within the port area'.

Clean Truck Program: The port of Los Angeles & Long Beach jointly resorted to a Clean Air Action Plan to reduce air pollution by at least 45 per cent within 5 years. Specific programs were developed to reduce air pollution from port related truck emission by 80 per cent. Older and dirtier trucks were banned in the following manner:
October 2008 Pre 1989 trucks were banned from port service.
January 2010 1989 to 1993 trucks were banned
January 2012 All trucks that did not meet 2007 federal emission standards were banned.

In order to implement the scheme, a Clean Truck Fee of USD 35/loaded Twenty Equivalent Unit (TEU) was levied resulting in collection of more than USD 200,000 a day. This fund was used to help the motor carriers to purchase new vehicles under the clean truck program (Moon, 2011).

Approach (3) 'Encouraging: Incentivise port users in different forms to encourage a change of behavior on their part to improve environmental performance'.

Ocean Going Ships: Since May 2005 voluntary ships air reduction program was introduced by the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. In this program, the vessels calling in the port were required to travel at or below 12 Kn within 20 nautical miles from the coast. From 2009 this low speeding zone was extended to 40 nautical miles. Carriers which achieved 90 per cent compliance in 12 months period from January 2006 were rewarded with 15 per cent reduction in dockage fee in the subsequent year. From 2009, for similar compliance from 40 nautical miles vessels were offered green plus rate amounting to 25 per cent reduction in the dockage fee.

Voluntary Fuel Incentive Program (VFIP): Between 1st July 2008 and 30th June 2009 the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach compensated ocean carriers for the difference between low cost dirtier fuel and more expensive low sulphur fuel if the vessel operator voluntarily switched over to use of cleaner fuel within 40 nautical miles from the port. This resulted in 11 per cent reduction of SOx emission and 9 per cent reduction of PM emission (Moon, 2011).

Approach (4) Engaging: It is about sharing knowledge and skills by setting up joint projects with others for environmental improvement in the port area. ESI - The Environmental Ship Index, a voluntary initiative identifies the vessels that go beyond IMO standards in reducing the emission of NOx, SOx, PM, CO2. ESI was designed by the ports of Le Havre, Bremen, Hamburg, Antwerp and Rotterdam and the ship owners and operators were invited to register for free on easy to use ESI website reporting the engine certificate, fuel used and other information for each vessel.

The vessel inspection was carried out at any one of the participating ports and the information was shared amongst other participating ports. A calculator built into the calculated the vessels' emission. The participating ports then decide how best to reward vessels (Moon, 2011).

Approach (5) Enforcing: 'Enforce good environmental practice mechanism for compliance by the port users'. The natural marine environment, which receives the pollutants from the ships and other sources, has the capacity to receive certain quantity of pollutant, degrade and convert them into harmless products. However, polluting activities need control once they reach the assimilative power of the nature by enforcing regulatory norms. This approach is provided as a measure of last resort for the ports, because great deal of success can be achieved through self-regulation, cooperation and common understanding’ (Ma, 2010).

Learning from the above experiments and experiences around the world, ports in the developing countries can meet environmental commitments of marine trade and reduce emission from port based operations in the following ways:
  • Use low sulphur diesel and diesel emulsions for diesel powered equipment.
  • Install idling controls on diesel powered equipment for automatic shut off.
  • Secure replacements that run on alternative fuels.
  • Facilitate cold ironing by making provisions for shore side power for vessels at berth.
  • Minimise stack movements by improved pre-information.
  • Secure sufficient gate capacity.
  • Install automatic gates.
  • Implement truck appointment system at the terminal.
  • Incentivise off-peak hour deliveries.
  • Realise fleet modernisation for trucks, barges and locomotives.
  • Incentivise reduced vessel speed near the coastline.
  • Incentivise use of low sulphur diesel by the vessels approaching the ports and while at berth.
  • Clean up air emission by capturing emission.
Environmental initiatives of this kind may make the ports comparatively more expensive in the short run and hence, in the present environment of competition the ports may like to postpone these measures. Therefore, to motivate the ports to undertake environmental cleaning initiatives the government may consider introducing financial incentives for the ports resorting to such measures.

Furthermore, in the larger interest of society the government can also consider creating an environmental funding mechanism to fund comprehensive cleaning up program and levy national container fee per TEU. Besides this, formation of a national cell to provide information about the environmental issues in the port and viable pollution control strategies can also be considered. A uniform national port environmental strategy can be evolved at the top most level making it compulsory for all the ports to resort to the above measures for long-term sustainable benefits.