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London port introduces ‘green’ discount on port charges

Date: 17/05/2017

The Port of London announced that, in the first three months of the current year, 66 ships calling at terminals on the Thames qualified for the UK’s first port charge discount for cleaner ships. The discount is available to ships that exceed international emissions standards set by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in a scoring scheme run by the World Ports Climate Initiative.

Specifically, the Port of London Authority (PLA) informed that among the ships qualifying for the discount were car carriers, container ships and tankers. The discount will provide regular callers to ports with a green tariff an incentive to invest in cleaner technologies.

PLA chief executive, Robin Mortimer, explained that the incentive was adopted on the context of a programme addressing concerns about air quality, particularly in urban areas and informed that PLA cooperates with Greater London Authority (GLA) and Transport for London (TfL) to introduce a Thames air quality strategy.

“It’s great to see that we’ve already got some of the largest vessels calling in the port qualifying for the discount. It’s one way in which we can incentivise ship owners to invest in the latest environmental technologies. Alongside the discount we are also looking at air quality on the river in central London and how we continuously improve the environmental performance of our own operations”.

As air quality is a strategic priority, the PLA has commissioned a series of studies that will report over the next six months, assessing:

the scope for shore side power (also known as ‘cold ironing’);

the air emissions for comparable road and river journeys; and

an emissions inventory with TfL.

The PLA’s own operations are focused on decreasing the organisation’s environmental impact across the 95 mile tidal river. Speaking about the PLA’s fleet of boats, Dave Fallows, PLA mechanical & electrical engineer, said:

“Our team is looking at trialling an electric power unit in one of our upriver harbour patrol boats. Installation will be technically challenging, because the batteries take up so much space. Electric power is increasingly well established, so I’m expecting the trial to show the unit to be reliable and cost effective, setting a benchmark for the rest of the fleet.”

The PLA has shore side power at several of its piers on the Thames, used to charge batteries that power its boats’ navigation and other safety equipment, without running the engines, and to warm the engine without idling. The large land side power supply at Barrier Garden Pier at Woolwich, will make the port’s biggest boat, “London Titan”, capable to charge, while working on the river in central London, contributing significantly to riverside emissions decrease, Fallows explained.


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