China’s Shenzhen port has expected to adopt requirements for ships at berth requiring to burn marine fuel with sulfur content not exceeding 0.5 percent starting October this year.
The move follows that of other ports in the Yantze River Delta such as Shanghai, Ningbo-Zhoushan, Suzhou and Nantong, which have been limiting emissions as part of a local emission control area (ECA) since April 2016.
Other key ports within Pearl River Delta are expected to implement the limits from January 2017 in accordance with the original schedule of China’s Maritime Safety Administration.
The emission control measures are being implemented in two phases. In the first phase, which took effect from April 1, 2016:
• Ships at berth at the core ports in the ECA must use fuel oil containing 0.5 percent sulfur or less
• Ships at berth at ports in the ECA are encouraged to use fuel oil containing 0.1 percent sulfur or less, and
• Ships entering the ECA are encouraged to use fuel oil containing 0.5 percent sulfur or less.
The second phase will be implemented dependent on the outcome of assessment of the first phase. Possible measures to be introduced are:
• Ships entering the ECA must use fuel oil containing 0.5 percent sulfur or less
• Ships entering the ECA must use fuel oil containing 0.1 percent sulfur or less
• Ships ‘at berth’ at ports in the ECA must use fuel oil containing 0.1 percent sulfur or less.
Late in 2014, New York-based Natural Resources Defense Council released a report on air pollution in China citing shipping as a major contributor and recommending the introduction of ECAs. The report, Prevention and Control of Shipping and Port Air Emissions in China, states:
“China is home to seven of the world's ten busiest container ports. About 26 percent of the world's containers pass through the top ten Chinese ports every year. Every ship and truck brings pollution along with its cargo, and China is paying a high price for pollution from shipping. In 2010 the country saw an estimated 1.2 million premature deaths caused by ambient air pollution.
“According to studies conducted in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, shipping is a significant source of these air pollution and health problems, particularly in port cities. Since Chinese port cities are among the most densely populated with the busiest ports in the world, air pollution from ships and port activities likely contributes to much higher public health risks than are found in other port regions.”
The Chinese emission control areas arise from Chinese domestic law and are not IMO MARPOL Annex VI designated emission control areas. The IMO is planning to limit sulfur emissions to 0.5 percent by 2020 or 2025.