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New HK report covers sulphur cap dates, shore power and emissions data

Progress report provides update on Hong Kong's plan to improve air quality.





Updated on 17 Jul 2017 08:51 GMT

Hong Kong's Environment Bureau (EB) and Environmental Protection Department (EPD) have jointly published the 'Clean Air Plan for Hong Kong 2013-2017 Progress Report', which provides an update on Hong Kong's commitment to improving air quality.

The document explains that, under China's Ministry of Transport action plan timetable, as of January 1, 2019, ocean-going vessels (OGVs) travelling in waters of the Pearl River Delta (PRD) Emission Control Area (ECA) (including Hong Kong waters) will be required to run on marine fuel with a maximum sulphur content of 0.5%. The 2019 timeline has been outlined in previous articles on this website.

Back in September 2012, Hong Kong launched a three-year incentive scheme to encourage ships to run on fuel with a sulphur content not exceeding 0.5 percent while at berth at the port. On April 1, 2014, Hong Kong then went on to introduce a new regulation to cap the sulphur limit of locally supplied marine light diesel (to local vessels) at 0.05% - a 90% improvement on the previous limit of 0.5%. Then, on July 1, 2015, Hong Kong was the first port in Asia to mandate the 0.5% requirement for OGVs during berthing, whilst also extending the incentive scheme to March 31, 2018, so as not to compromise Hong Kong's competitiveness.

The implementation of the 0.5% sulphur cap in January 2019 will apply to all ECA waters covering the Pearl River Delta, Bohai Rim and Yangtze River Delta, and will therefore become effective one full year before the global 0.5% sulphur cap is enforced in January 2020.

The boundary of the PRD ECA (excluding the waters of Hong Kong and Macao) is about 12 nautical miles and includes the ports of Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Zhuhai.

Regarding the future implementation of a stricter 0.1% limit, the new report said that, before December 31, 2019, authorities would "evaluate the effectiveness of the above measures in order to confirm whether to tighten the sulphur content to 0.1%, extend the geographical scope of DECAs [Domestic Emission Control Areas] and introduce further control measures".

Shore power and emissions data

The report also said that the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, which started operating in June 2013, has seen an increase in the number of ships using the facility; thus local authorities "will consider what may be an appropriate time to review the timetable for onshore power installation".

The number of OGVs calling at Hong Kong on an annual basis actually decreased between 2012 and 2016 - from 30,703 to 27,642. River vessel arrivals also dipped from 160,156 in 2012 to 157,369 last year.

According to the report, between 2015 and 2020, the emissions of sulphur dioxide (SO2) and particulate matter (PM10) from the marine sector are expected to decrease by 6,340 tonnes and 710 tonnes respectivetly.

Emission Control Areas - Summary

Bohai Rim ECA

- Hebei Province (Hebei Maritime Safety Administration (MSA)): Huanghua, Qinhuangdao and Tangshan.

- Tianjin (Tianjin MSA).

Pearl River Delta ECA

- Guangdong Province (Guangdong MSA): Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Zhuhai

Yangtze River Delta ECA

- Jiangsu Province (Jiangsu MSA): Nantong and Suzhou.

- Shanghai (Shanghai MSA)

- Zhejiang Province (Zhejiang MSA): Ningbo-Zhoushan (including Beilun, Chuanshan, Daxie, Zhenhai, Meishan, Shengsi, Liuheng, Dinghai, Qushan and Jintang).

Regulation timeline

Hong Kong was the first Pearl River Delta port to enforce the obligatory use of fuel with a maximum sulphur content of 0.5% in 2015 for OSVs when berthed. Its Air Pollution Control (Ocean Going Vessels) (Fuel at Berth) Regulation, L.N. 51 of 2015, became effective on July 1, 2015.

On January 1, 2016, China's three ECAs - the Pearl River Delta, Yangtze River Delta and Bohai Rim - became effective and ships were encouraged, but not obliged, to begin using 0.5% sulphur fuel when at berth or anchor by the Ministry of Transport.

On April 1, 2016, the Yangtze River Delta ports of Shanghai, Ningbo-Zhoushan (including Beilun, Chuanshan, Daxie, Zhenhai, Meishan, Shengsi, Liuheng, Dinghai, Qushan and Jintang), Suzhou, and Nantong were required to use 0.5%% fuel during berthing.

On October 1, 2016, ports calling at the Pearl River Delta port of Shenzhen were obliged to run on fuel with a maximum sulphur content of 0.5% during berthing.

As of January 2017, the 0.5% regulation is now obligatory for ships when at berth or anchor at the following ECA ports: Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Shanghai, Suzhou, Nantong, Ningbo-Zhoushan (including Beilun, Chuanshan, Daxie, Zhenhai, Meishan, Shengsi, Liuheng, Dinghai, Qushan and Jintang), Huanghua, Qinhuangdao, Tangshan and Tianjin.

In January 2018, the rules will apply to ships when at berth or anchor at all ports in China's three ECAs. Then, in January 2019, the 0.5% regulation will extend to all ECA waters.

It has been suggested that the Ministry of Transport is looking to reduce the 0.5% ECA limit to 0.1% on January 1, 2020, though this is yet to be confirmed.






Related Links:

Bohai Rim 'reportedly' fines foreign ships for using non-compliant fuel
China's 0.5% sulphur cap: key facts
Shenzhen 0.5% sulphur cap now effective
Hong Kong ECA planned for Jan 2019
Hong Kong
Hong Kong

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