Samstag, 21.04.2018 17:32 Uhr

Dutch expect milestone in fighting pollution from shipping

Verantwortlicher Autor: Jochen Raffelberg Nijmegen, 04.04.2018, 20:15 Uhr
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Nijmegen [ENA] The Dutch government expects next week’s Nijmegen international environment conference to become a “prominent milestone” in creating zero-emission and climate-neutral inland shipping by 2050. As a pilot city in the Dutch Water Ministry’s Smart and Healthy City program Nijmegen has just started measuring pollution aimed at improving emissions from shipping at its river Waal quay.

According to the municipality sensors have been installed on lampposts on the dockside to canvass soot and noise output data along the main distributary branch of the river Rhine. In recognition of its environmental efforts the European Commission had selected Nijmegen for the 2018 European Green Capital award. One of the selection criteria was on air quality and the acoustic environment. In a welcoming note, Ms Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, said the Ports and the City conference offered an excellent platform for dialogue on a green deal with stakeholders in the logistics sector and the communities with connections to waterborne transport, to be concluded towards the end of this year.

“Before summer, I expect that in the Netherlands we can agree on an intermediate target for CO2 emissions by 2030,” she added, addressing participants in the Nijmegen event from neighbors in the catchment areas of the rivers Rhine, Meuse and Scheldt. Topics scheduled for discussion at the April 12-13 event include examples of innovative shore power for barges, climate change mitigation in a port city, air quality partnership within the European Union, zero emission in container transport with support from electric barges under construction and electric trucks under rapid development plus near-term technology studies on rebuilding and retrofitting including hydrogen and fuel cell options in inland shipping to remove pollution.

The minister said inland waterway transport was an “indispensable asset for the smooth flow of freight” between main seaports and the European hinterland. Three out of nine Trans European Transport Network corridors originated or ended in Holland. Europe’s new Green Capital, Nijmegen, was located on one of these, on the Rhine-Alpine corridor. Shippers had asked her to integrate the various policy lines for climate, energy, transport and the environment. They want to get rid of uncertainties between the various policy lines and prefer to embark on a policy line of “radical greening”. Zero-emission and climate neutral inland waterway transport by 2050 had been identified as a clear point on the horizon, Ms van Nieuwenhuizen said.

The inland shipping industry feels it is unduly blamed of alleged heavy pollution and says that currently no Europe-wide standardized measurement methodology existed for making precise and reliable statements. A spokesman for the German inland shippers association BDB said the Environment Protection Agency had established new emission limits for inland waterway engines in 2016, and only now planned to develop new precise methodology. “Today I heard that the Federal Ministry of Transport intends to tender a study on the subject,” he said adding that an earlier official study had established assignable pollutant input of inland vessels failed to be detected within meters away from shipping lanes.

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