Measures to mitigate the effects of inland waterway transport in Rotterdam. Quick scan for the municipality of Rotterdam

The rate of reduction of air pollutant emissions (NOx, PM) from inland navigation is slow due to the fact that engines can last more than 30 years and stricter emissions standards for new engines only recently (2019/2020) took effect. To accelerate the sustainability and clean-up of inland navigation, it is necessary for ship owners to choose emission-reducing options. However, there are often limited funds available for investment and emission-reducing technologies do not pay for themselves.

In order to reduce NOx emissions from barges, the City of Rotterdam planned to introduce an access provision that would deny polluting vessels access to the port basin. The legal basis for the access provision, however, has proved to be inadequate. Nevertheless, to reduce emissions the Rotterdam City Council asked CE Delft to identify alternative policy measures and estimate their impact on air pollutant emissions. To estimate the environmental impact of the measures, we will first prepare a picture of the current air pollutant emissions from inland navigation. In this study, we compare the effects of four measures with the effects of the access provision.

The measures we consider are:

  1. Speed restrictions on waterways
  2. Targeted subsidisation of emission-reducing engine technologies
  3. Differentiated port fees based on emissions
  4. Logistical changes for container vessels

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