In 2015, the Port of Gothenburg introduced an environmental discount on the port tariff in an effort to increase the number of calls by ships running on liquefied natural gas (LNG). Several major LNG investments have been made since then, including initiatives by a number of Swedish shipping companies. This has had a positive impact on the environment, including reduced emissions of sulphur dioxide, particles and nitric oxide into the air in western Sweden. The Gothenburg Port Authority is now set to extend the discount period and is already outlining a renewed environmental discount.
As part of the Gothenburg Port Authority environmental discount scheme, vessels that report good environmental performance receive a 10 per cent discount on the port tariff, assuming they achieve a certain level according to the globally recognised environmental indexes ESI and CSI. Vessels that run on LNG receive an extra discount of 20 per cent each time they call. The LNG discount is subject to a time limit and is due to run to the end of this year, although the Port Authority is considering extending the discount period.
LNG is currently the cleanest marine fuel available for large-scale shipping. Use of the fuel began to gather momentum at the Port of Gothenburg in the second half of 2016. Prior to that, shipping companies were sceptical about investing as there was no means of bunkering LNG at the port. At the same time, the bunkering companies were unwilling to supply LNG without a customer base.
“A catalyst was necessary to break the deadlock, and the energy discount has been a strong contributing factor behind many players choosing to follow the LNG route,” said Edvard Molitor, Environmental Manager at the Gothenburg Port Authority.
“It took time before it really took off, but today these players are at the LNG forefront at the Port of Gothenburg. Now that the discount period is drawing to a close, we can see that the upward trend is continuing at the port with a growing number of LNG calls. We aim to maintain our support for this development, and we are therefore planning to extend the four-year discount period by a further two years,” said Edvard Molitor.
Plans for a more technology-neutral environmental discount
In 2019, the LNG discount will be 20 per cent as previously, before being phased out during 2020 with a reduction to 10 per cent. However, during the phase-out period the Port Authority will focus on developing the regular indexed environmental discount, which takes greater account of the vessels’ environmental impact rather than the technology or the fuel used to run the vessel.
“We will of course continue to support vessels that offer a good environmental profile, but we won’t make any distinction in the discount between vessels that produce the same environmental outcomes. As the environmental effects of LNG operation continue to be good, these will also be incorporated into our future environmental control system,” said Edvard Molitor.
Fact file: LNG
Compared with traditional fuel, emissions of sulphur, particles, heavy metals and nitric oxide are reduced substantially. The use of LNG internationally is growing in line with increasingly stricter global emission rules for shipping. LNG has also been highlighted by the EU as a key marine fuel for the future.
Rise in the number of LNG calls at the Port of Gothenburg
Year LNG calls
2018 (Jan-May) 56 (135 for the full year 2018)
Further reading: First-ever bunkering of liquefied biogas in Sweden at the Port of Gothenburg
Fact file: Port of Gothenburg
The Port of Gothenburg is the largest port in the Nordic region. 30 per cent of Swedish foreign trade passes through the Port of Gothenburg as well as almost half of all container traffic.
The Port of Gothenburg is the only port in Sweden with the capacity to receive the world’s largest container vessels and has the broadest range of shipping routes within and outside Europe. The 25 rail shuttles that depart each day mean that companies throughout Sweden and Norway have a direct, environmentally smart link to the largest port in the Nordic region. The Port of Gothenburg has terminals for oil, cars, ro-ro, containers and passengers.