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Ports in Support of Designating North Sea and Baltic Sea as Nitrogen Emission Control Areas

The port authorities of Antwerp, Hamburg, Rotterdam, Le Havre and Bremen/ Bremerhaven have come out in strong support of the submissions to designate the North Sea and the Baltic Sea as Nitrogen Emission Control Areas (NECA) by 2021.

European Ports are experiencing tremendous pressure to reduce their environmental footprint. Ports that accommodate important industrial clusters and are located in the vicinity of residential areas and/or Natura 2000 sites in particular feel the urgency to reduce their emissions in order to maintain their license to operate. With the submission to designate the North Sea and Baltic Sea as a NECA there is a huge opportunity to further decrease the harmful impact on the environment. 

In a statement, the Port of Rotterdam Authority said: ‘The shipping industry is responsible for an increasing share of (nitrogen-oxide) emissions which contribute to nitrogen depositions in protected Natura 2000 sites and to NOx-concentration levels in residential areas. Whereas significant advances have been made to curb nitrogen emissions from land-based sources, the shipping industry has despite some first initiatives not yet been able to achieve the same results.

‘International studies have shown that the designation of an NECA is a cost effective way to reduce NOx-emissions from seagoing vessels. There is a range of proven technologies available to comply with these NECA requirements including dual fuel engines or pure gas engines that can operate on liquefied natural gas (LNG), selective catalytic reduction (SCR) and exhaust gas recirculation (EGR).

The IMO NOx Tier III requirements for vessels built from January 1st 2021 onwards and operating in Nitrogen Emission Control Areas are seen by this collection of influential port authorities as the key instrument for NOx-reduction. 

‘These requirements push down NOx-emissions, which have detrimental effects on air quality and health, by about 75 per cent compared to the Tier II, which are requirements that apply for all vessels built since 2011.

‘Consequently the port authorities of Antwerp, Hamburg, Rotterdam, Le Havre and Bremen/Bremerhaven would like to express their active support for the designation of the North and Baltic Sea as NECA from January 1st 2021. We trust that MEPC members will take the same approach, contributing to a cleaner and more sustainable future for international shipping.’