Clean vessels: real discount

Fine words are not enough. An adage that is far too often true as far as sustainability is concerned. That is why vessel owners that really are ‘green’ receive immediate payment for this in the Port of Rotterdam: real discounts on port dues.

The Port of Rotterdam aims to mitigate climate change while simultaneously ensuring that the Rotterdam port and industrial complex will still make a substantial contribution to Dutch prosperity and employment opportunities after 2050. “We aim to play a pioneering role and transform the port into a notable example in the global energy transition”, said Allard Castelein, Port of Rotterdam Authority President and Chief Executive Officer. “Companies will play a leading role in this. We aim to facilitate them as far as possible to use methods that reduce CO₂ and/or introduce new, climate-neutral operating procedures.”

Actions speak louder than words
One of the most prominent sectors within the port is, of course, the shipping industry. A significant contribution towards reducing harmful emissions is also expected from companies in this sector. To provide an incentive for this, sustainable vessel owners can also expect something in return from the Port Authority. And not only in words but, as the Rotterdam proverb goes, in actions. In hard cash.

Environment Ship Index
For instance, we established the Environment Ship Index (ESI) together with other Northwest European ports, under the umbrella of the World Ports Climate Initiative (WPCI). This index indicates vessels’ environmental performance in terms of emissions of nitrous oxides (NOx), sulphur oxides (SOx) and carbon dioxide (CO₂). Ocean-going vessels arriving in Rotterdam with an ESI score of 31 points or more are rewarded with a 10 per cent reduction on the gross tonnage portion of the port fees. The discount is doubled if the vessel also has a good score on the ESI-NOx index. Such low NOx emissions are realised by using LNG as fuel or large catalysts.

In 2016, the Port Authority issued almost 3 million euro in discounts to vessels with high Environmental Ship Index scores.

However, the discount can increase even more. Oil, LNG, or product tankers with a load capacity of 20,000 tonnes or more, will actually receive an additional 6 per cent seaport fee discount if they have a Green Award. This certificate is issued by the independent Green Award Foundation to vessels and shipping companies that have made additional investments in vessel and crew and, in doing so, place a particularly high priority on environmental performance, safety and quality.

Inland Shipping
It goes without saying that such incentives are not only restricted to ocean-going vessels. The inland shipping sector also receives incentives in terms of harbour dues discounts. These discounts can increase to 30 per cent, depending on whether the vessel has a Green Award certificate and the propulsion engine performance satisfies CCR2 emission requirements. To give an impression; in 2016, almost 600 inland shipping companies received an incentive. Conversely, inland vessels that do not satisfy CCR2 emission standards receive a 10 per cent surcharge on the harbour fees. The Port Authority transfers all income from this to the Expertise and Innovation Centre Inland Shipping (EICB), thus making further contributions to the greening of inland shipping via this route.


We are committed to ensuring that the port and its environs are safe, healthy and appealing. We aim to counter climate change while ensuring that the port area makes a significant contribution to Dutch prosperity and employment.

ESI Discount

In the port of Rotterdam, sustainable seagoing vessels are rewarded. Vessels that score high on the Environmental Ship Index (ESI) receive a discount on seaport dues already paid. The ESI is an international benchmark for emissions from seagoing vessels.

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