More environmental ingredients in the Swedish port-fee soup

-Karin Almlöf

Lower emissions from shipping and a more straightforward system is the Swedish Maritime Administration’s aim when they suggest a new model for fairway dues in Sweden.

The new model, with a more environmental approach than before will, if it’s successful, be in place in January of 2017.

Today, a complex system determines how much a ship should pay when visiting a Swedish port. The fee is based on the ship’s gross tonnage and cargo, with possibilities for discount if the ship emits less than six grams of Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) per kilowatt-hour. There are also a great number of exemptions leading to few ships paying the ordinary fee.

The new suggestion contains three parts determining the fee: the ships net tonnage, its cargo (now added passengers) and its total score in the Clean Shipping Index. All ships are now treated equal independently of type.

Clean Shipping Index

The Clean Shipping Index is a tool for evaluating the environmental performance of sea transport. The index ranks ships based on their performances in five different areas: emission of carbon dioxide (CO2), Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), Sulphur Oxides (SOx) and particulate matter (PM), use of chemicals onboard, and water and waste treatment. Each area of emission has a maximum score of 30 points each.

Consequences for shipping?

Competitiveness in the Swedish industry has been an important factor to address for the Swedish Maritime Administration. The new model will bring relatively larger fees for cruise ships, container- and dry cargo ships as opposed to tankers who will be charged less.

They suggest five different environmental classes from A to E, where A has the least environmental impact and D the largest, class E contains ships not connected to the Clean Shipping Index who will be seen as class D. To reach class A, a ship must score at least eleven points in each category and a total of 125 points in the index.

Could there be more environmental parameters added in the future?

In the Swedish Maritime Administration’s correspondence about this new proposal, they talk about the ships’ total environmental performance. You get the feeling that a ship’s environmental footprint consists of just these five parameters. It would be interesting to see if it’s possible to add more parameters, for instance; the ship’s routing – to avoid disturbance in sensitive areas at sea, the ship’s underwater noise, the ship’s speed through archipelagos to avoid erosion (then combined with discount in the pilotage fee that runs by the hour).

Could there be more room for softer parameters like education and a well-anchored environmental culture onboard and through the shipping companies? The Clean Shipping Index has in its part about water and waste control a crew awareness section, to score here a documented education for all crew onboard with special focus on engine room personnel is needed.



Photo by Karin Almlöf


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