EU Shipping Law

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Ports: electricity for ships in ports

A. Introduction

45.001 This chapter considers the European Union (“EU”) legal regime which requires ships to use shore-based electricity, where possible, rather than using their own engines. The requirement to use shore-power (rather than ship-power) is motivated by the fact that ship-power usually leads to more emissions than shore-power and so shore-power is more environmentally friendly. This chapter should be read in conjunction with the other chapters in the book, including, in particular, those dealing with the marine environment.

B. 2002: Commission Communication on a strategy to reduce atmospheric emissions from seagoing ships

45.002 On 20 November 2002, the Commission adopted a communication to the European Parliament and the Council on a European Union Strategy to Reduce Atmospheric Emissions from Seagoing Ships.1 The communication urged port authorities to require, incentivise or facilitate ships’ use of land-based electricity while in port rather than relying on ship-power. The communication recognised that atmospheric emissions from seagoing ships include air pollutants, greenhouse gases and ozone-depleting substances, these emissions do not disperse harmlessly to the sea and they do not stop at national boundaries. The primary air pollutants addressed in the strategy were sulphur dioxide (SO2 or SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx), volatile organic compounds (“VOCs”) and primary particulate matter (“PM”). Secondary pollutants considered in the strategy were sulphuric and nitric acids, formed by oxidation of SO2 and NOx; ground-level ozone, formed by photo-chemical reactions of NOx and VOCs in sunlight; and secondary PM, including sulphate and nitrate particles created by the oxidisation of NOx and SO2. The principal greenhouse gas considered was carbon dioxide (CO2). The principal ozone depleting substance at issue is halon. 45.003 The communication recognised that there are many operational measures which can be taken to reduce atmospheric emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases. It recognised that reducing fuel consumption was the most obvious one and applicable to all vessel categories but there were other measures too. It recognised that while in general, ships are already reasonably fuel-efficient in the interests of economy, speed reduction during steaming and, importantly for present purposes, running from shore-side electricity while in port are further means of reducing fuel consumption, and consequently emissions. Ultimately, among the communication’s recommendations, the Commission urged port authorities to consider introducing voluntary speed reductions, and to require, incentivise or

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facilitate ships’ use of land-based electricity or clean on-board power while hotelling in port. In essence, the Commission urged port authorities to require, incentivise or facilitate ships’ use of land-based electricity while in port so as to reduce the use of marine fuels.

C. 2003: European Parliament Resolution on the Strategy to reduce atmospheric emissions from seagoing ships

45.004 On 4 December 2003, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the strategy to reduce atmospheric emissions from seagoing ships.2 The Parliament pointed out that the use of land-based electricity in port can be facilitated by the production of a report describing positive examples of these measures, as well as their costs and benefits. 45.005 The resolution stated:

European Parliament resolution on a European Union strategy to reduce atmospheric emissions from seagoing ships 3

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