European Commission acts on reception facilities in the European Union

Following completion of an independent study on the implementation of the European Union (EU) Directive on Port Waste Reception Facilities in 50 European ports, the European Commission is now considering the next stage in its work on implementing the requirements for ports to provide adequate reception facilities. With the assistance of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) the Commission will now present its own conclusions and recommendations from the independent study to the European Council for their consideration and endorsement.

INTERTANKO has been fortunate enough to have been involved as the shipping industry representative during parts of the study, which was overseen by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA). It was clearly stated at the outset that the work was undertaken specifically to examine the ports, and in particular the fee system, and not the users' implementation of the Directive's requirements. The majority of work has therefore focused on the port implementation aspect of the Directive. Notwithstanding this, INTERTANKO was invited to an industry (including ports, shipping, terminals and reception facility providers) workshop hosted jointly by EMSA and the Commission on 16 March.  

EMSA and the Commission remain open in their dialogue with INTERTANKO and the other shipping associations and have urged the shipping industry to continue to provide facts and information on their members' experience with the use of European waste reception facilities. In the short term the Commission is seeking information on the fee system. Thereafter it will focus on more general application issues associated with the Directive. 

While the independent study has provided some positive recommendations on the need for the Commission to work on providing clear guidance to ports on the fee system, waste receipt and notification, and the role of the port authority and its responsibilities, INTERTANKO provided additional recommendations based on feedback from its members. These included: 

  • the need for a further examination of the role and responsibility of the terminal operator within the scheme of the port authority and the member state obligations;
  • the need to examine the waste collection systems, i.e. the technical and operational practicalities associated with the actual delivery/collection of waste;
  • the need to provide guidance and a clear definition to port authorities, inspection authorities and ships in terms of the compulsory discharge requirement.  

INTERTANKO also emphasised the need to concentrate further on cargo-generated wastes, which has been largely overlooked by the Commission and in the Directive.  

Click here for an Executive Summary of the study entitled 'Study on the Availability and Use of Port Reception Facilities for Ship-Generated Waste'. Note that the recommendations provided in the summary are those of the consultants and not the Commission.  

The Commission will now consider the recommendations given and further comments provided by INTERTANKO, other shipping associations and the port associations. Once considered, it will draw up its own recommendations to be presented to the Council in June for its endorsement. It is anticipated that part of these recommendations will include the development of guidelines to assist ports in the implementation of the Directive’s core elements, such as the fee system and the application of exemptions for certain ships. 

Feedback from INTERTANKO’s members has been vital in enabling a constructive dialogue with the Commission and EMSA on this issue, and further information on the use of port reception facilities in Europe is encouraged. In particular, the Commission has invited INTERTANKO to provide information on how the Directive has effected the use of facilities in Europe, in particular information on the fee systems since the introduction of the Directive. 

Please send any comments on experiences in Europe, or in general, to Tim Wilkins.  

Contact: Tim Wilkins