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Shenzhen praised for fuel switch scheme

02 Oct 2014 10:45 GMT

New voluntary scheme means that ship operators will receive a subsidy for switching to fuel with a lower sulphur content.



Hong Kong public policy think tank, Civic Exchange, says it supports Shenzhen's latest initiatives to reduce ship and port emissions, which include a new subsidized fuel switch scheme.

The People's Government of Shenzhen Municipality last week announced the launch of an incentive scheme of up to CNY 200 million (US$32.49 million) a year. Under the scheme, port and ship operators will be encouraged to install and use onshore power, and ocean-going vessels to switch to the use of low sulphur fuel of not more than 0.5 per cent sulphur content while berthing, both on a voluntary basis.

Different levels of subsidy are to be provided to cover the cost of the installation, maintenance and electricity use of onshore power facilities. Under the scheme, ship operators will receive a subsidy to cover 75 percent to 100 percent of the cost of fuel switching, depending on the fuel’s sulphur content.

"This is a significant step taken by Shenzhen to address air pollution and to protect public health," Civic Exchange said in a statement.

Since 2013, Shenzhen has become the third largest container port in the world. Most of the ocean-going vessels calling at Shenzhen burn heavy fuel oil with about 3 percent sulphur content. It is estimated that approximately 66 per cent of Shenzhen’s sulphur dioxide emissions, 14 percent of nitrogen oxide, 6 percent of fine particulates (PM2.5) are contributed by port and ship sources.

"This is a milestone in Shenzhen's ship emission control and air quality management policy development," said Simon Ng, Chief Research Officer of Civic Exchange. "First, Shenzhen clearly acknowledges the ship and port sector as a major emission source that needs to be addressed swiftly. Second, government agencies responsible for transport, environmental protection, maritime safety, and city planning are working closely with the private sector in tackling air pollution. Third, they are starting with voluntary actions supported by government incentive, which could potentially pave the way for mandatory requirement in the future. Fourth, Shenzhen’s scheme will benefit the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region as a whole in air pollution reduction and public health protection. The collaborative effort between Shenzhen and Hong Kong over the years is now bearing fruits. It highlights the importance of regional cooperation."

On the issue of air pollution caused by ships in Hong Kong, the public policy think tank said: "Civic Exchange has been actively researching the extent and impact of ship emissions in Hong Kong and the PRD region. We also facilitated the launch of the Fair Winds Charter in Hong Kong, a voluntary at-berth fuel switching scheme led by the shipping industry since 2011, and the drive towards regulatory control over ship emissions in Hong Kong. In the long run, Civic Exchange calls for tighter and uniform standards across the PRD region through the establishment of an emission control area in the PRD waters under the regulation of the International Maritime Organization. This is in line with the long-term vision of both the Hong Kong and Shenzhen governments."






Related Links:

Support for mandatory fuel switch in Hong Kong
Hong Kong: Cruise ship emissions data published
Think tank supports decision to regulate fuel switching
Think tank calls for pollution control at Hong Kong terminal
HK regulations 'badly required' to control ship emissions

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