ESPO presents its sustainable agenda at the 2017 Greenport Conference Amsterdam
13 October 2017
This week, Europe’s environmental port experts have gathered in Amsterdam for the 12th edition of the GreenPort Conference and 5th edition of the GreenPort Cruise Conference.
Isabelle Ryckbost, ESPO’s Secretary General, took the opportunity to present the ESPO sustainable agenda for the coming months. The following five priorities were identified:
- European ports call for an efficient but responsible ship waste management policy. In preparation of the review of the existing legislative framework, ESPO emphasizes that incentive schemes to encourage ships to deliver their garbage at ports must be accompanied by a “right to deliver” that reflects the normal amounts a ship is delivering in a port. It would not be responsible to allow for the delivery of unreasonable amounts of garbage for a fixed price. Marine litter is a serious problem and it is important to tackle the issue at the source by introducing measures to reduce waste production on board of ships and by equally addressing the other sea-based (fishing vessels and recreational craft) and land-based sources of litter. Overall, enforcement has to be stepped up by using the possibilities offered by new technologies.
- European ports ask for a VAT exemption for onshore power supply (OPS) used by ships at berth. This would bring OPS on equal footing with the electricity generated on board of ships that benefits from VAT exemption, take away an important disadvantage of using OPS and would further contribute to better air quality. ESPO welcomes the Commission’s intention to address this issue in the Evaluation and Fitness check of the Energy Taxation Directive.
- ESPO asks for a strong Connecting Europe Facility for the period 2020-2027 to allow European ports to make the investments needed towards sustainability. ESPO believes that additional grants and other financial instruments are essential for decarbonising the ports, for making ports more resilient to the consequences of climate change and for helping ports to contribute to decarbonising the economy.
- European ports encourage IMO to build on the progress made at the last MEPC and deliver an initial CO2 reduction target accompanied by short-term measures in 2018. An urgently needed global agreement on a target and measures to reduce CO2 from shipping must be achieved by 2023. ESPO supports the submission by IAPH to the IMO. Ports can incentivise ships to go green, but these incentives should remain a port decision and cannot replace a binding target.
- ESPO would like to start the reflection on a review of the first Code of Practice on the societal integration of European ports, which was published in 2010. Both ports and cities have changed dramatically over the last years. The governance of several ports in Europe has changed, which has impacted the relations with the city. Many cities are increasingly over-stretched and in need of more housing. They have their eye on the port area. At the same time, many ports are seeking to expand, to start up new activities or to improve the current infrastructure. The Paris Agreement is facing both port and city with a huge challenge. To move towards a zero-carbon economy and society, port and city might have to rethink their respective roles and see what they can mean for each other. Finally, over the years, ports have gained a lot of experience in how to close the gap with the city and optimise the port-city relationship. With a review of the Code, ESPO aims at bringing together this experience and help ports to adapt the port-city relationship to the new and upcoming challenges.
During the GreenPort dinner and on the occasion of the 20 years of EcoPorts, an award was given to pay tribute to three individuals who have played a defining role in the creation of the EcoPorts network and the development and implementation of standards to achieve PERS (Port Environmental Review System) Certification, they are: Henk W.J.J. De Bruijn, Manager Social & Labour Affairs, Havenbendrijf Rotterdam N.V.; Kees Joosten, Senior Consultant, Bax & Company, Rotterdam and Herman Journée, Chairman ECO Sustainable Logistic Chain Foundation.
At the Green Port Cruise conference held on Tuesday, Stavros Hatzakos, Chairman of the ESPO Cruise and Ferry Port Network, spoke about port-city relations, infrastructure needs and the importance of cooperation with the stakeholders and more in particular the cruise lines. He further stressed that ESPO has been able to optimise its Rapid Exchange System (RES) thanks to the EU funded Portopia project. With the new RES, ESPO is now also registering the transit passengers in the different cruise ports. As Eurostat figures are currently only registering turnaround passengers, the new RES will provide a far more realistic picture of the importance of the cruise activities of European ports.