The International Transport Forum (ITF) has recommended a set of measures to bring down greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in ports in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.
The body acknowledged that around one-third of the world’s 100 largest ports currently offer financial incentives to mitigate GHG emissions, but argued these initiatives need to be expanded.
Some US ports offer cheaper rates for reducing speed when approaching the port, while Spain and Shanghai also provided incentives to greener vessels, but the ITF found the price-cuts were not significant enough.
Only around 5% of vessels benefit from these schemes, and the difference in fees can be as little as 5% and only as high as 20%.
The ITF said: “Much wider application of other port-based incentives, such as green berth-allocation policies, green procurement and carbon pricing schemes could substantially mitigate shipping’s GHG emissions.
“The expansion of these instruments needs to go hand-in-hand with enhanced assessment of the impacts of these instruments, so as to improve their effectiveness. Not enough data exists to properly assess the real impact of port-based decarbonisation incentives.”
Additionally the body recommended tying incentives to actual GHG emissions, which is now possible due to advances in technology and data collection.
The ITF said: “Port fee deductions have been based predominantly on local air pollutants; it would make sense to integrate GHG emissions to avoid perverse incentives to increase GHG emissions whilst addressing local air pollution.”