The project aimed to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emission by looking into available technology and the implementation of cost effective and cleaner energy supply infrastructure to ships in harbours/ ports at sea.
CNSS wanted to contribute to the large scale installation of “clean shipping” technology around the North Sea, e.g. by developing cost-effective implementation concepts (show-cases). Furthermore, CNSS wanted to pave the way for an incentive and regulatory framework, which caused an increased use of environmentally friendly technologies and fuels in shipping and at the same time maintained the competitive position of the North Sea maritime transport.
Maritime transport is a key economic factor. Although it is one of the most environmentally friendly modes of transport referring to good per unit, the increase in global transport makes shipping a significant source of air pollution. Ships are the largest single emission source for Nitrogen oxide, particulate matter and Sulphur oxide emissions in the transport sector. The current EU-Communication on the Future of Transport states that ship born emissions need to be urgently addressed in order to mitigate the exposure of many Europeans to dangerously high levels of air pollution.
Ports suffer from air pollution not only due to arrival/ departure of ships, but also due to emissions during their stays at berth. Today, new regulations have been set into force. Beside the international MARPOL regulation of the IMO, the EU has introduced the “sulphur content of marine fuels” directive. It declares a 0,1 % sulphur limit in fuels for ships at berth in EU ports as from 2010. In the North and Baltic Sea, which have been declared special “Emission Control Areas” (ECAs) by the IMO, this limit will also hold for ships at sea from 2015 onwards. Furthermore, the EU Environmental Council decided in 2009 that CO2 emissions from shipping must be reduced by 20% by 2020.
In order to comply with these regulations ships must change to lighter fuels, which will increase fuel costs drastically and consequently, marine transportation will get more expensive. The industry might respond with re-routeing of goods to places outside the North Sea (e.g. Adriatic Sea) and instead using transportation via land corridors. This development would have strong negative economical effects for the North Sea shipping and port industries.