2014 was a transitional year. Although volumes in ports were picking up, the overall maritime business climate is still slacking. We noticed shipping lines have started to consolidate and/or collaborate to reduce costs and optimize their vessel size on certain trade lanes. But, though charter prices increased modestly, experts do not predict a significant growth of volumes in this year.

To avoid operational costs increasing as of January 2015, shipping lines operating in ECA-areas have to decide on retrofitting their vessels for alternative fuels such as LNG, methanol or biofuel.

Pollutant-free results?

Alternatively, ships can be equipped with exhaust gas cleaning systems, enabling them to still use Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) in the future. Tarnishing the success of scrubbers is the fact that certain exhaust gas cleaning systems discharge wash water. This wash water has to meet certain discharge criteria which are worked out by IMO (such as PH, PAK’s…). Certain Member States have reserves regarding this wash water discharge in coastal or harbour waters. They want to be sure these wash waters are not infringing the Water Framework Directive demanding the reduction of certain priority pollutants being discharged.

HFO is the residue of a refining process and as such contains most pollutants present in crude oil (heavy metals, sulphur). We therefore can expect these pollutants to also be present in the exhaust gases, which a scrubber system will clean. But where the wash waters are concerned, we feel a test project is urgently needed to assess their quality.

Most exhaust gas cleaning systems are tailor-made in function of a certain ship type, engine, and owner specifications. That’s why detailed analyses of the wash water of the different manufacturers are not yet available. Also, results are influenced by the HFO-quality bunkered by the vessels.

Free analysis discharge waters

To remedy this shortcoming and deliver a positive contribution in the debate EUROSHORE offers shipping lines free analysis of their discharge waters. These sample analyses could in a next phase facilitate the reception and treatment of these wash waters, should they contain too much pollutants. The idea is to share all information with all stakeholders.

2015: a challenging year

The EU Commission has launched the process of reviewing the EU Directive 2000/59 which deals with port reception facilities for ship generated waste and cargo residues. The EU Directive needs to be brought in line with further legal developments of the MARPOL 73/ 78 Convention. On top DG Move has ordered an evaluation study on all aspects of the Directive. The results of this study carried out by PWC will be made available by the end of January 2015 and discussed with the stakeholders together with some guidelines to improve the implementation of the Directive. At the same time a subgroup on Port Reception Facilities will be set up within the frame of the European Sustainable Shipping Forum. This workgroup will discuss all issues related to ship-generated waste.

I also would like to mention that EUROSHORE has been accepted as the voice of the waste contractors within the CDNI Treaty which governs all types of waste originating from inland shipping.

Dear reader, as you can see: 2015 will be a challenging year for our sector. Interesting times lie ahead, which we will gladly meet together. But for now, let’s start the year by whishing you wish you a happy and successful 2015.

Baudouin Ska