Port of Rotterdam Calls for Higher CO2 Tax

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Image Courtesy: Port of Rotterdam

The Port of Rotterdam Authority is calling on the Dutch Government to form a coalition with countries in North-West Europe so that a joint CO2 price can be introduced. At the Port Authority’s Energy in Transition Summit 2018 on the RDM site in Rotterdam, Port Authority CEO Allard Castelein made a powerful case for a much higher CO2 price in conjunction with a new industrial policy for the Netherlands. At the summit, the Port Authority also revealed the results of the CO2 impact of marine and inland shipping. The Port Authority announced that it would introduce an incentive of in total 5 million euros to support vessel owners and charterers that experiment with low-carbon or zero-carbon fuels to promote climate-friendly maritime shipping.

Castelein hopes that a significantly higher CO2 price will stimulate new investments in clean technologies and innovation. “A price in the range of 50-70 euros per ton of CO2 will stimulate companies to invest in solutions that we really need in order to realise the targets of the Paris Climate Agreement.”

In this respect, he warns against an uneven playing field. “I don’t support a solo approach, such as that of the UK with electricity production. As a transit country, the Netherlands is closely linked to the countries that surround it. A North-West European coalition would guarantee a level playing field for the industry.”

Besides the benefits of such a coalition, the Port Authority also stresses the importance of a new industrial policy. “The Government is currently focusing on the reduction of greenhouse gases. In order to switch to a new energy system, as a Government you also need an integral vision and a corresponding industrial policy for the new economy, the future industrial landscape and the type of R&D required to achieve that. I also think that this is an important task for the Government. So: international pricing, national stimulation.

The Rotterdam/Moerdijk port industrial area faces the challenge of reducing CO2 by 20 million tons per year as of 2030 (–49% compared to 1990). The Port Authority is convinced that this target can be realised as part of the national Climate Agreement.

“We started in plenty of time in this region,” said Castelein, who is also Chairman of the so-called climate table for Rotterdam/Moerdijk. “We now have more than 40 projects in our portfolio that support the energy transition. Without exception, they involve coalitions of companies that are committed to tackling climate change and ensuring that Rotterdam continues to be a vital world-class port.”

The target for 2050 is more ambitious. The Port Authority believes that radical changes are required in order to achieve this target. “Whereas we’re now mainly looking at end-of-pipe solutions for the optimisation of the existing energy system, towards 2050 we will really need a radical change of the system”.

1. New research figures

The Port Authority also presented new research figures at the Energy in Transition Summit 2018. Whereas last year the Port Authority commissioned the Wuppertal Institute to research the options for making industry in the port area sustainable, this year the Institute looked at the transport and logistics sector. The study shows that marine and inland transport with Rotterdam as the destination or departure point is responsible for emissions of around 25 million tons of CO2 every year.

The majority of this amount (21.5 million tons) can be attributed to marine transport. To ensure that this sector also complies with the Paris Climate Agreement, emissions will have to be reduced by 95% by 2050. The first half of this target (up to 50%) can be achieved by efficiency measures, but the remainder will require the deployment of different fuels.

According to the Wuppertal Institute, in the coming decades LNG and biofuels can help shape the transition, but the ultimate goal can only be achieved with electrification and hydrogen and the use of synthetic fuels such as methanol.

The Port of Rotterdam Authority wants to help decarbonise the logistical chains of which it is also a part. In that context, Castelein was delighted to announce that the Port Authority is introducing an incentive of in total 5 million euros for climate-friendly maritime shipping. The arrangement will be used to support vessel owners and charterers that experiment with low-carbon or zero-carbon fuels that are supplied in Rotterdam.

The Port Authority also announced the introduction of a 100% discount for inland port charges when vessel owners comply with Green Award’s platinum certificate (sailing on electricity or on fuel cells for at least 50% of the time or for 3 hours per day) and make use of NextLogic, as soon as this is operational. NextLogic is a planning tool that optimises handling of container inland shipping in the port of Rotterdam.

Sea News, April 13