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Environmental Ship Index further expands its user base to 7000 vessels with plan for major upgrade

Climate and energy Resilient Infrastructure 3 min read

With a user base now approaching the 7,000 vessel mark and recognised by over 50 ports worldwide, the Environmental Ship Index (ESI) is rapidly becoming the standard tool used by the world's ports to reward and incentivise shipowners with vessels that meet and exceed IMO emissions standards.

Established back in 2011 and first introduced by the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) in 2013, the ESI is a voluntary tool which includes a formula-based evaluation of vessels' nitrogen oxide (NOx) and sulphur oxide (SOx) emissions. The calculation also rewards vessels that are equipped to use available onshore power and which demonstrate fuel efficiency improvements over time, reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) and particulate matter (PM) emissions.

Following the launch of the World Ports Sustainability Program earlier in March this year, the IAPH working group focussed on the further development of the ESI met in Marseilles in June and agreed to invest in upgrading the current IT system. This includes the current database of registered vessels as well as the online portal itself.

IAPH Managing Director Patrick Verhoeven commented on the June meeting in Marseilles: "The Working Group has agreed to widen the scope and fundamentals of the ESI , including further in-depth work on CO2 based on the IMO strategic approach as well as engaging with shipowners who already use the index to see how we can make it easier to use. Following from points raised at the recent IMO special event for ports earlier this month, the ESI will be a vital tool in achieving the priorities set out in our World Ports Sustainability Program."

Through ESI, ports and other interested parties can promote ships to use cleaner engines and fuels and with preferential treatment offered either through discounts on port dues, bonuses or other benefits commensurate with the level of cleanliness.Score ranges from 0 for a ship that meets the environmental performance regulations in force to 100 for a ship that emits no SOX and no NOX and reports or monitors data to establish its energy efficiency; in other words a ship with a score of 0 points is actually in conformity with the applicable requirements and the ship with 100 points is amongst the best-performing vessels currently at sea today.

IMO ESI WPSP Sulfur Cap Ports Emissions CO2 NOx SOx
The Environment Ship Index Working Group, meeting in Marseilles last month

ESI to adopt latest IMO legislative developments

ESI administrator Manfred Lebmeier (Senior Environmental Advisor, Hamburg Port Authority) commented : "ESI is now a global system with participants from all over the world and as such is the most successful index of its kind in shipping. Now, new forms of participation need to be developed, beyond the working group. We also need to prepare for the index to have its formula adapted to reflect IMO developments. These include the 2020 Sulfur cap and the 50% reduction target in CO2 emissions by 2050."

Working Group Chairman Eric van der Schans ( Director Environmental Management at Port of Rotterdam) added : “It is great to see the steep increase in number of ships and incentive providers within ESI. It brings the responsibility to ensure that the ESI organisation (including website, database and working group) is strengthening and able to deal with the increasing responsibility. The participants in the meeting gave their full support to ensure that ESI is able to continue to grow.”

The aim is to simultaneously upgrade the ESI system in parallel with increasing the port and shipowner base as well as maintaining close dialogue with other incentive schemes to take advantage of potential synergies.

About IAPH

Founded in 1955, the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) is a not-for-profit global alliance of roughly 170 ports and 140 maritime companies and institutes representing about 90 countries. The IAPH is dedicated to fostering cooperation among ports and harbors and promoting the vital role they play in creating a peaceful, more prosperous world. The IAPH has Consultative NGO Status from the United Nations and is active in developing international trade and maritime policy. IAPH member ports handle about 80 percent of world container traffic and more than 60 percent of all international maritime trade.

About the World Ports Sustainability Program (WPSP)

On 12 May 2017 the International Association of Ports and Harbors decided to set up a World Ports Sustainability Program. Guided by the 17 UN SDGs the program wants to enhance and coordinate future sustainability efforts of ports worldwide and foster international cooperation with partners in the supply chain. The World Ports Sustainability Program builds on the World Ports Climate Initiative that IAPH started in 2008 and extends it to other areas of sustainable development based on five main themes : resilient infrastructure, climate and energy, safety and security, community outreach and port-city dialogue, governance and ethics. It was launched by the IAPH and founding partners in March 2018 in Antwerp.

ESI NOx emissions SOx emissions CO2 emissions ports IMO Sulfur Cap