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Branson, NGO Aim for More Ports Fighting CO2

Port of RotterdamThe number of sea ports using ship evaluation systems to encourage lower carbon emissions will go from two to 10 in the next year, according to Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, as reported by Bloomberg.

Branson is a founder of the Carbon War Room, a nonprofit that rates ship efficiency.

Currently Port Metro Vancouver and the Prince Rupert Port Authority in Canada use a system developed by the Carbon War Room and RightShip that ranks 60,000 vessels in the merchant fleet on an A-to-G scale for fuel efficiency. Ships rated “A” get the biggest discounts on port fees.

Port Metro Vancouver gave $1.1 million in discounts last year, while the Prince Rupert Port Authority has budgeted $100,000 for discounts this year, according to Victoria Stulgis, a spokeswoman for the Carbon War Room.

The Port of Rotterdam, Europe’s largest port, will also begin looking at how it can encourage more efficient vessels, according to a statement it released Wednesday. Branson says the move will help motivate shippers toward cleaner ships, though he notes it is just one part of the bigger problem of environmental damage as the result of CO2. According to the most recent estimates from the International Maritime Organization, shipping accounted for 2.7 percent of global CO2 emissions in 2007.

Currently, the Port at Rotterdam already discounts port fees to ships which emit low levels of nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides. Its reductions for those were valued at 1.8 million euros ($2.3 million) in 2013.

The Port at Rotterdam also plans to discuss carbon-reduction policies with other northwest European ports including Antwerp, Hamburg and Amsterdam.

In a similar initiative, last year the Port of Los Angeles in the US adopted an international clean air program that pays a monetary reward to ocean carriers for bringing their newest, most efficient and lowest emission vessels to port.

Photo Credit: Rotterdam Port via Shutterstock

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