Minimisation of nutrient losses in ports in the Baltic Sea. Proposal for BATs/BEPs for dry bulk fertiliser storage and handling

Annually, over 45 million tons of fertilisers are handled in the ports of the Baltic Sea region. The marine transportation of fertilisers has been identified as a possible significant source of nutrient discharges into the Baltic Sea, as some of the fertilisers can be released into the water during loading, unloading and transportation.

Excessive nutrient discharges can lead to eutrophication, a phenomenon that stimulates algal growth and triggers hypoxic seawater conditions. This results in a decline of species diversity, deterioration of water quality, and adverse impacts on marine ecosystems and economic and recreational values.

CE Delft was commissioned by John Nurminen Foundation to develop a reference document on Best Available Technologies or Techniques (BATs) and Best Environmental Practices (BEPs) to minimise nutrient losses during storing, handling and transporting dry bulk fertiliser in the Baltic Sea region. The document can be used to promote sustainable practices both at practical levels (ports, terminals, manufacturers and shipping companies) and at policy and regulatory levels (HELCOM and national authorities).

By conducting a thorough literature review and interviewing numerous stakeholders, we have identified and assessed approximately 70 Best Available Technologies or Techniques (BATs) and Best Environmental Practices (BEPs). We have identified which stakeholders are involved in the BATs and BEPs and we have qualitatively estimated the impact of the BATs and BEPs. These BATs and BEPs are categorised into seven relevant topics: handling and storage of dry bulk fertilisers, cleaning equipment and routines, management of stormwater and snow, monitoring for improvement of processes, improving communication between the stakeholders, developing skills through training and education & policy makers and authorities.