Worldwide there are approximately 3,000 merchant ports and the work of the Harbour Master can vary widely from country to country and from port to port even within the same country.
On 24 September the Transport Committee of the European Parliament supported removal of tax barriers for the uptake of shore-side electricity supply (OPS) in ports for ships at berth.
It was in the EP that the Ertug report on the deployment of infrastructure for alternative fuels in the EU* was voted by the Transport Committee and where it was pointed out that taxation has a major impact on the price competitiveness of alternative fuels. Furthermore, it was emphasised that disparities in energy taxation for shore-side supply for ships should be addressed. This was reported by the European Sea Ports’ Organisation (ESPO) on 25 September.
European ports are indicated to have welcome the vote in the Parliament and believe that energy taxation on electricity has been a significant barrier for the uptake of shore-side electricity for ships, being often the reason why it does not make a strong business case.
Currently, electricity produced from the combustion of marine fuel on board of ships is tax-exempt. But, when ships at berth are plugging into the shore-side electricity system, they have to pay taxes applied to electricity. It is understood that Sweden, Germany and Denmark have been provided under the Energy Taxation Directive with a permit to temporarily apply a reduced rate of taxation to shore-side electricity for ships.
ESPO believes that a permanent and EU-wide tax exemption for the use of shore-side electricity under the Energy Taxation Directive, would put it on an equal footing with electricity generated on board of ships produced from the combustion of tax-exempted marine fuel.
In the words of ESPO’s Secretary General, Isabelle Ryckbost: ‘Ports in Europe are investing a lot in onshore-side electricity infrastructure (OPS). Tax barriers, which make it for ships more expensive to plug in, have resulted in OPS installations which are often underused. This vote in the Parliament gives a strong signal. A permanent and European tax exemption for shore-side electricity for ships at berth would take away a great disadvantage of using electricity and would enhance its uptake, allowing ports and their surrounding communities to reap the environmental benefits of these costly investments.
‘Uptake of OPS would contribute to further improving air quality and achieving the EU climate targets. On top of that it reduces the noise of ships at berth. We now hope that the message also reaches the Commission, the national governments and the Ministers in charge of taxation issues.’
ESPO welcomed that the Evaluation and Fitness Check Roadmap of the European Commission on the evaluation of the Energy Taxation Directive (2017) made a reference to an exemption on shore-side electricity for ships.
The illustration shown is: © European Union 2014 - European Parliament. (Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons license).
Readers may find more information about ESPO’s position here: https://www.espo.be/media/2018.06.18-ESPO%20position%20on%20energy%20taxation%20consultation.pdf
Opened by Agnes Wong Tin-yu, Director of Marine for Hong Kong SAR, today’s Nautical Institute International Conference 2019 gave rise to a lively and stimulating debate on the subject of Shiphandling.
Held at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, the morning session included presentations on the legal consequences of shiphandling incidents, special considerations for handling large tankers, handling ships in heavy weather and how digital technologies support command decisions in shiphandling.
In the afternoon delegates were invited to consider the role of simulator and computer based training in shiphandling and also heard from senior pilots working at the ports of Shanghai and Shenzhen. The closing presentation from Capt Stephen Wong of the Hong Kong Pilots Association focused on changes in shiphandling techniques in Hong Kong harbour.
Addressing delegates, Capt Nick Nash FNI president of The Nautical Institute, said:
”Shiphandling is obviously one of the core skills for any shipmaster. This conference has given us all further insights into this skill and the repercussions if we get it wrong!”
“Training is the key, along with proper mentoring while at sea. The collaboration and integration of Bridge teams, Pilots and VTS, while making full use of new technologies will ensure that shiphandling lies at the heart of safety and best practice in the maritime industry.”
Early in June two warships from the Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1), Turkish frigate TCG Gokova and from the Royal Navy HMS Westminster successfully completed an important training mission in support of joint warfighting logistics. Our illustration has been kindly provided by
NATO Maritime Command (MARCOM) © www.mc.nato.int/media-centre/news
It was reported from NATO Maritime Command at Northwood, NW London, that the two NATO ships escorted a civilian cargo vessel, mv Gute through high- traffic sea lanes during her transit from Norway to Sczecin, Poland carrying Norwegian military equipment for NATO exercise Noble Jump.
The safety and security of sea-based trade and transportation routes is critical to the prosperity of the Baltic nations and the NATO Alliance.
Escort training, such as that practiced by Gokova and Westminster, enhances interoperability among NATO and commercial shipping and provides reassurance to NATO allies and partners that NATO is capable and ready to maintain freedom of navigation in the Baltic Sea.