Civic Exchange Welcomes New at-Berth Fuel-Switching Regulation in Hong Kong

Civic Exchange welcomes the new Air Pollution Control (Ocean Going Vessels) (Fuel at Berth) Regulation (the Regulation), which is gazetted today. The Regulation requires ocean-going vessels (OGVs) to switch to clean marine fuel with sulphur content not exceeding 0.5 per cent while at berth. Subject to approval by the Legislative Council, the Regulation will become effective on 1 July 2015.

This is a major policy breakthrough in addressing the problem of air pollution contributed by all vessels, which accounted for 50 per cent of sulphur dioxide (SO2), 32 per cent of nitrogen oxides (NOX), and 37 per cent of particulate matter (PM10) emissions in Hong Kong according to the latest emission inventory compiled by the Environmental Protection Department. With the Regulation, OGVs will be required by law to switch from high-sulphur bunker fuel (2.6 per cent sulphur content on average) to cleaner fuel at berth. As a result, it is estimated that total SO2 and PM10 emissions in Hong Kong will be cut by 12 per cent and 6 per cent, respectively.

“We should not under-estimate the significance of this regulation”, claimed Simon Ng, Chief Research Officer of Civic Exchange, who has been involved in scientific research, stakeholders engagement and discussion on government control policy related to ship emissions since 2006. “This is an important government policy intervention that will result in quick and substantial reduction of air pollution from the biggest local emission source located right in the heart of our city and close to millions of residents. Air quality improvement and associated health benefit would be huge.”

Civic Exchange congratulates the Government for taking the right step to control ship emissions. Civic Exchange also wants to commend the shipping industry for their vision and commitment demonstrated through the Fair Winds Charter since 2011. “The shipping industry should be extremely proud of their role in making Hong Kong the first in Asia to regulate ship emissions, and in setting a high environmental performance standard for the industry in this region,” Ng added.

Since 2008, Civic Exchange has been actively conducting scientific and policy research (ship emission inventory, health impact assessment, and emission control area in the Pearl River Delta region), convening stakeholder discussions on ship emission control (with local and regional governments, shipping and container terminal industries, and air quality and logistics experts), and facilitating the world’s first industry-led voluntary ship emission reduction initiative (the Fair Winds Charter). For more information about our past works and contribution to this Regulation, please visit: