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Rotterdam Reduced Port Fees for Early Adopters of Future Sustainable Fuels

Rotterdam bunkering
Rotterdam hopes to encourage early adoption of methanol and later ammonia by offering financial incentives (Port of Rotterdam)

Published Oct 5, 2023 6:40 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Port of Rotterdam announced it will begin offering a substantial port fee reduction for ships that bunker sustainable fuels as part of its efforts to support the early adoption of new green fuels including methanol and in the future ammonia. The effort is ahead of the plans to launch green corridors from Rotterdam both in the Baltic and globally to Singapore.

To qualify, a ship has to bunker alternative fuels in Rotterdam with at least a 90 percent reduction in greenhouse gases. Port executives highlight that the fee reduction for large container vessels when bunkering sustainable fuels in Rotterdam can run up to €500,000 in total. However, the Port of Rotterdam Authority has determined that the discount will not apply to bio-blended fuel oil, marine gas oil, or marine diesel oil, as the market for these alternatives is already mature in Rotterdam. 

The reduction of fees is being launched ahead of the green corridor and to support the recently announced Zero Emissions Maritime Buyers Alliance (ZEMBA). The port plans to recognize and encourage front runners on the road to maritime decarbonization. Well-known consumer brands including Amazon, Electrolux, Ikea, and Philips, have committed to ZEMBA, an initiative of coZEV, which recently launched a request for proposals for the transport of 600,000 containers on ocean-going container vessels powered by zero-emissions fuels.

“It is vital that the shipping industry makes the switch to zero-emission fuels,” says Boudewijn Siemons, COO and acting CEO of the Port of Rotterdam. “The ZEMBA consortium has launched a fantastic initiative with a willingness to pay carriers a premium for the use of zero-emission fuels, which are still more expensive than traditional fuels. With the additional support from our side, we want to give carriers a maximum incentive to make this switch.”

One of the world’s leading bunkering ports, the Port Rotterdam highlights that it already extends discounts to more sustainable vessels that score high on the Environmental Ship Index (ESI). They view these efforts as an international front-runner in facilitating the bunkering of zero-emission fuels. Methanol bunkering is already available in Rotterdam with efforts to further expand the supply, Maersk is bunkering their first methanol-fueled containership in Rotterdam in addition to product tankers which have been the first to adopt methanol. Supplier OCI recently announced that it has singed a long-term supply agreement with X-Press Feeders to supply methanol to the company's ships and plans to expand the methanol supply in Rotterdam.

In 2022, the port launched a Green & Digital Corridor project together with the Maritime Port Authority of Singapore, which also offers discounts for carriers using sustainable fuels. Carriers using sustainable fuels can benefit they note at Singapore, the world’s largest bunker port, as well as now at Rotterdam, and also receive financial incentives as part of the ZEMBA initiative.

They recently detailed progress on the planned Rotterdam-Singapore Green & Digital Shipping Corridor while announcing that the partners in the effort are working to reduce emissions by between 20 to 30 percent by 2030. This first phase of the effort will focus on containerships with a capacity of at least 8,000 TEU deployed on the more than 8,000 nautical mile route. Efforts are underway to aggregate demand and supply to reduce the cost gap towards the adoption of sustainable fuels and the partners are working to identify action steps for the various fuel pathways to decarbonization.