INTERTANKO proposes an International Forum on Port Reception Facilities

At last week’s conference on ‘Waste Reception Facilities in Europe’, held in Gothenburg, INTERTANKO’s Environmental Manager, Mr Tim Wilkins, gave a presentation entitled ‘Facilitating the Use of Facilities’ in which he proposed the establishment of an International Forum on Port Reception Facilities. Its purpose would be to draw together the key stakeholders in order to develop an action plan on the current problem areas.

Port representatives, shipping companies and associations, environmental organisations, PortState representatives and waste handling companies all gathered at the conference to discuss the current problems in Europe. The presence of the relevant active bodies provided an appropriate opportunity for INTERTANKO to suggest a regular gathering of these bodies with a defined action plan.

INTERTANKO introduced the concept by explaining that the necessary regulations and guidance for port reception facilities are in place in Europe and globally, and that both the users and the facility providers have expressed the desire to improve the current situation. Yet there seems to be a mist of confusion when it came to delivering the expected results in terms of facilitating and increasing the use of port waste reception facilities.

Support for the Forum was received from the port representatives present, including the European Harbour Masters Association. INTERTANKO offered to host the first meeting in its London offices in early January and suggested that all the key players, ranging from the IMO to the waste processing companies, should attend. It proposed a draft agenda covering regulatory developments, advances in ports and in shipping, assessment of feedback forms and the analysis of individual case studies raised by both ship operators and facility providers.

Edo Donkers from the Port of Rotterdam supported the idea and suggested that this would be a perfect forum in which to discuss the harmonisation and rationalisation of the reception facility fee system. As much of the discussion during the conference had centred around the fee systems operating in and around Europe, it would be appropriate for the Forum to initiate a benchmark project, establishing not just the fee systems in the various ports around the world but also the quality of service provided. This benchmarking would address the other key issues such as quantities and types of wastes accepted, and at what times and which berths.

Delegates also heard an account of the specific difficulties faced by the tanker sector. The presentation by Ingemar Andersson, Chartering Manager of Tarntank Rederi AB, was a valuable account of INTERTANKO members’ concerns and will provide input into the Forum alongside the feedback forms and individual accounts presented to the INTERTANKO secretariat by the Association’s members.

A fascinating account of port fee variations in European ports was also given at the conference by two students from the ChalmersMaritimeCollege in Gothenburg. To the dismay of port representatives present, the two students demonstrated the substantial variations in dirty ballast reception fees being levied on vessels calling at European ports, varying from USD 400 to as much as USD 1800 for the discharge of 30m3 of oily bilge water. Although the report evoked heavy criticism from port representatives present, it was a useful illustration of the lack of transparency in the fee systems around Europe and as a result will provoke discussion at the first Forum meeting in January.

Click here to view the presentation.

Contact: Tim Wilkins