China wants to join transport policy body

China has officially declared its intention to join the International Transport Forum, an intergovernmental organisation linked to the OECD that deals with transport policy issues.

The vice-minister for transport, Gao Hongfeng, made the announcement during the annual summit of transport ministers from the International Transport Forum’s 52 current member countries in Leipzig, Germany last week.

Jack Short, secretary-general of the International Transport Forum, welcomed China’s declaration.

“We will be delighted to welcome China as a full member of the International Transport Forum,” he said.

“We hope that the formal process of China joining can be completed soon.”

Cargonews Asia / 30 May 2011

Going greener means a discount for ships at Antwerp

Signing-up for new index could bring cheaper tonnage dues at ports.

The most environmentally-friendly vessels that call at the Belgian port of Antwerp will get a discount of 10% on tonnage dues.

The Antwerp Port Authority’s board of directors voted to reward “clean ships” that call at the port in an effort to reduce emissions of pollutants such as NOx and SOx.

The measure, which will be implemented from 1 July, follows an initiative by the International Association of Ports and Harbours, in which the port authorities of Le Havre, Bremen, Hamburg, Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Antwerp introduced an Environmental Ship Index (ESI).

Shipping companies can register their ships with this index at
On the basis of the data entered – including fuel consumption and emissions – each vessel is given a score on a scale from 0 to 100 (highly polluting to emission-free). The ports then decide what incentives to offer participating ships.

In the case of Antwerp, seagoing ships with a score of 31 or more will be granted a discount of 10% on the tonnage dues.

The port authority will guarantee the discount for at least three years, offering continuity for shipping companies that invest in improving the ESI score of their vessels.

If fewer than 25 seagoing ships qualify for the discount, then the port authority will reward those with the highest ESI score below 31. This applies until the end of this year and has been introduced to encourage shipping companies to register their vessels for the index.