Call for green port dues

10.04.18 | News
Trålare i hamnen i Reykjavik
Helgi Thorsteinsson/
A sliding scale of port dues depending on the environmental impact of different categories of vessel would be a strong incentive for shipping companies to be more environmentally friendly. It would also have major benefits for the marine environment and air quality, according to the Nordic Council, which will now initiate Nordic co-operation on the idea.

The processes surrounding international shipping agreements and regulations may be slow, but as relatively large seafaring nations the Nordic countries have the opportunity to drive progress by setting a good example, according to the Sustainability Committee, which presented the proposal to the Nordic Council Theme Session on the Sea in Akureyri, Iceland, on Tuesday.

“The indexing instrument would be more effective if we developed the system at Nordic level – a bit like the Nordic ecolabel only for shipping. It would set a high bar for other countries to emulate. The goal has to be to get shipping companies to opt for environmentally friendly solutions,” said Suzanne Svensson (S, Sweden). 

“Nordic shipping companies are replacing their fleets, and environmentally-friendly vessels cost more. But a policy of differentiated taxes will encourage them to build energy efficient replacements,” says Suzanne Svensson. 

All vessels to pay waste tax

It was the Nordic Green Left party group that submitted the member's proposal on reducing emissions from shipping in the Nordic Region. The proposal also calls on the governments of Finland, Norway and Sweden to incorporate the environmental dimension into their thinking when the time comes to renew the EU directive on port reception facilities for ship-generated waste and cargo residues.

According to Kolbeinn Óttarsson Proppé (VG, Iceland), the Nordic Green Left representative on the Sustainability Committee, it is important to ensure that the new version of the directive includes a rule that all vessels that dock in EU ports must pay a handling fee for the treatment of their waste water. 

“As long as it is only those vessels that actually use the in-port facilities that pay the fee, others will keep dumping at sea,” Proppé said. 

The proposal, complete with all of its recommendations, was adopted unanimously at the Theme Session.

  • Read the member's proposal on reducing emissions from shipping in the Nordic Region here.