In April, IMO member states at MEPC 72 reached a historic agreement to peak CO2 emissions from shipping as soon as possible and reduce them by at least 50% by 2050, compared to 2008 levels.

In mid-May, NSW Ports announced introduction, from 1 January 2019, of an environmental incentive to apply to vessel related charges at Port Botany and Port Kembla. NSW Ports became the first Australian port organisation to introduce such an incentive. Port Botany is Australia’s premier container port and has two bulk liquid berths. Port Kembla is Australia largest vehicle importer and a major exporter of coal and grain.

An official statement by NSW Ports reads:

We are passionate about environmental issues and wanted to take a lead in Australia to help encourage change through an incentive to encourage shipping lines to improve their emissions. The environmental incentive will be applied to vessels that perform better in reducing their emissions than the levels required by current emission standards of the IMO.

The incentives apply to vessels registered with the Environmental Ship Index (ESI). The ESI is a scoring system that gives a numerical representation of the environmental performance of seagoing ships regarding air pollutants. It only includes ships that perform over and above current IMO international legislation on emission standards.

The ESI is a project within the World Ports Sustainability Program. ESI evaluates the amount of nitrogen oxide and sulphur oxide that is emitted by a ship and includes a reporting scheme on the greenhouse gas emissions of the ship.

The introduction of this environmental incentive is aligned with Australia’s commitment towards international climate change initiatives.

In West Australia, Fremantle port is collecting data from visiting ships to understand their environmental impact and the technologies they are using to reduce GHG emissions, The Australian reported. Fremantle and Dampier ports are also Australian leaders in LNG bunkering.

However, a recent report by OECD ITF revealed that only 28 of the world’s 100 largest ports offer such environmental incentives, stressing that there is the need for an overall increase in ports' financial incentives for greener vessels globally.