Vancouver, Prince Rupert offer discounts for lower carbon emissions

Canada’s two major West Coast seaports, Port Metro Vancouver and the Prince Rupert Port Authority, are offering lower harbor rates for ships demonstrating that they have reduced greenhouse gases.

The financial incentives are based partly on the “A to G” greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) rating for ships using the ports.

The GHG rating is derived from the Existing Vessel Design Index (EVDI) established by RightShip, a ship vetting company. The index allows a relative comparison of a ship’s carbon dioxide emissions to vessels of a similar size and type using a simple A-to-G scale.

The EVDI estimates the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per nautical mile traveled based on the design characteristics of the ship at the time of build.

Port Metro Vancouver’s EcoAction Program offers vessels the opportunity to qualify for one of three reduced harbor dues rates based on implementing emission reduction options. Vessels that qualify are eligible to receive the Blue Circle Award, which is reserved for the highest emission-reduction achievements.

Recipients of the award include APL, Grieg Star Shipping, Hapag-Lloyd, Holland America Line, “K” Line, Maersk Line, Princess Cruises, Silversea Cruises and Westwood Shipping Lines.

The Prince Rupert Port Authority introduced its Environmental Incentive Program for Vessels (EIPV) in 2013. In 2014, it expanded the program under a new label: the Green Wave incentive initiative. It offers discounted harbor dues to vessels that have implemented emission reduction measures and/or other environmental improvements, including the use of shore power.

The program focuses on environmental certification, fuel quality, technological implementation and management.

Jason Scherr, manager of environmental sustainability for the Prince Rupert Port Authority, said anticipated traffic increases through the port make it critical to reduce the overall environmental impact of shipping growth.  

Prince Rupert’s original EIPV used the Environmental Ship Index as the only method to obtain discounts. The enhanced Green Wave program incorporates other metrics and standards to determine incentive levels, including fuel sulfur content; the Green Marine Program; the RightShip GHG and/or Environmental Star Rating; the Clean Shipping Index, and the Energy Efficiency Design Index.

Vessels can qualify for one of three incentive levels. These tiers relate to a shipper’s commitment to mitigation of environmental impacts, including reduction of air emissions and pollutants, utilization of energy-efficient technology, and participation in sustainability alliances — such as Green Marine — that are being adopted throughout the shipping industry.

Scherr said that since expanding the incentive program’s criteria, the number of ships qualifying for discounts has increased dramatically.

“In the first month of 2014, we had 25 ships qualify,” Scherr said. “There has been a huge buy-in from the shipping industry.”

Vessels can earn a 10 percent discount for meeting Tier 1 criteria, 20 percent for Tier 2 and 50 percent for Tier 3.

“Environmental stewardship is one of our corporate values and we want to make sure that we do everything we can to keep our environment pristine,” Scherr said.

The goal of reducing carbon emissions includes working with other West Coast ports, Scherr added.

In a written response to Professional Mariner magazine, RightShip Chief Executive Warwick Norman said it is now “survival of the greenest” in the shipping industry.

“Owners are investing in eco-ships at a remarkable speed and those that fail to invest in efficiency run the risk of having their vessel passed over,” Norman wrote. “If this leads to a two-tier market, then less-efficient vessels will be driven out of the market.”

By Professional Mariner Staff