Port Barcelona presented its pioneering Air Quality Improvement Plan, an initiative aiming to reduce emissions from port activities. The document, which was approved by Port’s Management Board and put to the Table on Air Quality in Barcelona Conurbation, involves 25 actions rolled out in 53 operations.
Port of Barcelona president Sixte Cambra, General Manager José Alberto Carbonell and the organisation’s environment chief Jordi Vila presented the Plan at a press conference. The most representative actions are promoting LNG as an alternative fuel for vessels and for road freight transport, an ambitious policy of discounts for cleaner ships and replacing the Port’s internal fleet with electric vehicles.
According to modelling done by Barcelona Regional, port activity is responsible for 7.6% of average annual concentrations of NOx in the city of Barcelona and of 1.5% of particulate matter.
Promoting liquefied natural gas (LNG) as an alternative fuel for ships, terminal machinery and trucks is one of the highlights of the plan, as LNG use cuts NOx emissions by 80% and stops particulate and sulphur oxide emissions. In addition, new legislation on greenhouse gas emissions is increasingly restrictive and the maritime industry is turning to LNG as a fuel for powering an increasing number of vessels that will enter into service in the coming years.
The policy of environmental discounts on ships’ fees is one of the most innovative aspects of the plan. “The discount applied to port fees is a very important tool, since it is a fundamental instrument for bringing about change in the vessels,” said General Manager José Alberto Carbonell. The problem is that at present the law allows a maximum discount of 5% for environmental reasons on ships’ fees, which is a very small margin for building an ambitious environmental strategy.