Upon issuing an invitation to tender for the maintenance dredging works in the Nieuwpoort coastal marina, the Flemish governmental Agency for Maritime and Coastal Services gave the market maximum opportunities to focus on CO₂ reduction through innovation.

Jan De Nul Group won the contract by promising to reduce CO₂ emissions by 15% annually.

In this way, it became the first dredging company in the world to aspire to such a reduction in a commercial application for a project.

To achieve the ambitious target, the company is focusing in particular on drop-in biofuel.

The biofuel was chosen as it reduces CO₂ emissions and fine dust emissions in the air, burns a lot more efficiently than conventional diesel, while it does not need the engines to be adapted in order to use it, the company explained.

Because drop-in biofuel uses waste flows as a raw material, it is also beneficial to the circular economy.

As a maritime authority within the Flemish government, we want to focus on reducing our environmental footprint in every possible way. We therefore pay particular attention to green criteria when we define specifications for the market. This already leads to concrete CO₂ reduction today, particularly by paying attention to ecological performance during dredging works and to the contractors with whom we cooperate,

...said Nathalie Balcaen, CEO of the Agency for Maritime and Coastal Services (MDK).

We want to make the utmost effort and, in doing so, inspire other companies in our sector to focus on energy or CO₂ reduction measures. We are therefore delighted to be engaged in dialogue with the Flemish government and the non-profit organization Vlaamse Waterbouwers VZW, and are working closely together with Zero Emission Solutions and the advanced sustainable fuel sector,

...Bart Praet, Head of Dredging Works Benelux department at Jan De Nul Group, says.

The announcement of the targets comes shortly after the Flemish Government’s decision to agree to a three-year pilot project for testing the CO₂ performance ladder for government contracts.

This ladder was developed in 2009 in the Netherlands as an instrument and certification scheme to stimulate CO₂ reduction, and turned out to be very successful.

The Flemish pilot project will kick off in September 2019 and last until September 2022.

The expected result is that contractors will be awarded contracts if they offer maximum quality, minimal CO₂ emissions and a fair price.