Shipping degassing on the map

Inland shipping vessels transporting volatile organic chemicals need to degas frequently: following discharge of their load and while sailing (residual vapours). This practice leads to substantial emissions of volatile organics, which are now banned onshore. Since 2015/2016 the provinces of Noord-Brabant and Zuid-Holland have had a partial ban on degassing in place, prohibiting vessels from degassing several categories of benzene(-containing) chemicals (those with over 10% benzene) while en route in these provinces. Against this background, the provinces of Noord-Holland, Utrecht, Gelderland and Zeeland were keen to improve their understanding of:

  • the amount of degassing in these provinces, and
  • the impact of the bans in Zuid-Holland and Noord-Brabant on the amount of degassing in the other four provinces.

In addition, these provinces were interested in the implications of a possibly similar ban in their provinces for the extent and location of the required degassing plant, berths for vessels carrying hazardous cargos and jetty capacity.

This study answers the above questions. It provides an approximate picture of the main potential routes by which benzene-containing chemicals are emitted to the atmosphere due to degassing by inland shipping, both before and after introduction of the provincial degassing bans in the provinces of Zuid-Holland and Noord-Brabant. The map shows the principal degassing routes in the Netherlands prior to the bans. The provinces where the bans are in force are shaded darker blue.