Civic Exchange Supports Shenzhen’s Incentive Scheme to Reduce Ship and Port Emissions

Hong Kong 25 September 2014 – Civic Exchange supports Shenzhen’s latest initiatives to reduce ship and port emissions. The People’s Government of Shenzhen Municipality announced in a press conference yesterday that an incentive scheme of up to 200 million RMB a year will be launched on 1 October 2014. Under the scheme, port and ship operators will be encourage to install and use on-shore power, and ocean-going vessels to switch to the use of low sulphur fuel of not more than 0.5 per cent sulphur content while berthing, both on a voluntary basis. Different levels of subsidy will be provided to cover the cost of on-shore power facilities installation, maintenance and electricity use. Ship operators will receive a subsidy to cover 75 per cent to 100 per cent of the cost of fuel switching, depending on the fuel’s sulphur content.

This is a significant step taken by Shenzhen to address air pollution and to protect public health. Since 2013, Shenzhen has become the third largest container port in the world. Most of the ocean-going vessels calling at Shenzhen burn heavy fuel oil with about 3 per cent sulphur content. It is estimated that about 66 per cent of Shenzhen’s sulphur dioxide emissions, 14 per cent of nitrogen oxide, 6 per cent of fine particulates (PM2.5) are contributed by port and ship sources.

“This is a milestone in Shenzhen’s ship emission control and air quality management policy development,” said Simon Ng, Chief Research Officer of Civic Exchange. “First, Shenzhen clearly acknowledges the ship and port sector as a major emission source that needs to be addressed swiftly. Second, government agencies responsible for transport, environmental protection, maritime safety, and city planning are working closely with the private sector in tackling air pollution. Third, they are starting with voluntary actions supported by government incentive, which could potentially pave the way for mandatory requirement in the future. Fourth, Shenzhen’s scheme will benefit the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region as a whole in air pollution reduction and public health protection. The collaborative effort between Shenzhen and Hong Kong over the years is now bearing fruits. It highlights the importance of regional co-operation.”

Ships are also the major source of air pollution in Hong Kong. Since 2008, Civic Exchange has been actively researching the extent and impact of ship emissions in Hong Kong and the PRD region. We also facilitated the launch of the Fair Winds Charter in Hong Kong, a voluntary at-berth fuel switching scheme led by the shipping industry since 2011, and the drive towards regulatory control over ship emissions in Hong Kong. In the long run, Civic Exchange calls for tighter and uniform standards across the PRD region through the establishment of an emission control area in the PRD waters under the regulation of the International Maritime Organization. This is in line with the long-term vision of both the Hong Kong and Shenzhen governments.

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  • Michelle Wong – Communications Manager, Civic Exchange: