Many companies and organisations in the superyacht world are becoming attuned to the need for environmental initiatives. Whether this is a rigorous recycling campaign or initiatives to reduce plastic water consumption, yachting is slowly stepping up its engagement through a series of sustainability programmes. As an industry, we should praise those who are leading the way when it comes to eco-friendly initiatives, and potentially offer financial incentives to those who are actively working towards combating pollution and related issues.
Recently, there have been many examples of the commercial shipping world taking the lead to encourage progressive, environmentally-conscious actions. Commercial shipping is a huge industry and one that is a significant contributor to pollution worldwide; some reports suggest that one commercial ship produces the equivalent amount of pollution as 50 million cars. Millions of tonnes of produce, materials and cargo are moved across the globe via commercial ships, and until a more efficient way is discovered, it look as though this method of transport is here to stay. The development of ‘greener’ commercial ships is gaining traction, and many companies are adopting cleaner practices. As a result of this, many ports have introduced policies to encourage the berthing of more eco-friendly vessels.
The Port of Gothenburg recently announced the renewal of its port tariff discount for environmentally-friendly ships. As part of the scheme, vessels receive a 10 per cent discount on the port tariff if they are deemed to meet certain environmental standards. Vessels that run on liquified natural gas (also known as LNG, which is currently the ‘cleanest’ fuel available for large ships) received a 20 per cent discount. Prior to 2015 – when the environment policies were introduced – no LNG ships called at the Port of Gothenburg; in 2017 there were 111 calls from LNG vessels, and the port forecasts that this number will rise to 135 for 2018. This demonstrates that by rewarding vessels that have clean technology on board with financial incentives, there is a tangible way to attract more business, as well as positively influencing the environment.
"This demonstrates that by rewarding vessels that have clean technology on board with financial incentives, there is a tangible way to attract more business, as well as positively influencing the environment."
Similarly, for vessels with lower emissions, the Port of London authority (PLA) introduced a discount on port charges in 2017. These vessels are rated based on an Environmental Shipping Index (ESI) score of 30, or above. This system is a method of ranking ships’ performance, which includes emissions of nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide. The Port of Rotterdam recently announced a series of proposals that aim to continue its ongoing commitment to adhere to the EU’s climate targets. In a press statement, it outlined its commitment to promoting sustainable shipping. “The Port of Rotterdam aims to become an international frontrunner in the decarbonisation of maritime transport and has the ambition to improve the efficiency of port services and stimulate sustainable maritime shipping through facilitating the most promising digital innovations.”
Could the financial incentives outlined above be applied to superyacht marinas? As more superyachts are delivered that feature hybrid systems or ‘green’ technology, marinas could encourage them to visit by offering discounts or other perks. As outlined in a report by Engel & Völkers Yachting earlier on this year, many popular marinas are increasing their prices on an annual basis, in some cases by as much as 20 per cent. For a new marina, or one that is hoping to attract more business into the region, offering a discount to eco-friendly vessels could be an innovative way to encourage more visitors. As the Port of Gothenburg demonstrated, its campaign increased visitation by over 100 vessels.
When it comes to successful environmental initiatives, the superyacht market should look to other industries for inspiration. The commercial shipping world has pledged to reduce its environmental impact on the world, and these campaigns have been proven as a method to increase profits for ports. Rewarding eco-conscious vessels is a proactive initiative, and one that the superyacht market should seriously consider.
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