Mediterranean Ports Get No Competitive Advantage From Lack of ECA: Report

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Tuesday May 3, 2016

The additional cost for operators to comply with Emission Control Area (ECA) rules in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea are not putting ports in the regions at a disadvantage to their southern counterparts, where no such zone currently exists.

That was one of a number of findings in a new report released Monday by Panteia, that was commissioned by the Port of Rotterdam Authority and Deltalinqs.

The report also found that a Mediterranean Sulfur Emissions Control Area (SECA) would be a "quick win" to improve air pollution, while having almost zero impact in terms of ports' market share. 

Further, the report concluded that transport to northern ports was more sustainable than their competitors in the south, thanks largely to the CO2 savings gained from using 20,000 TEU ULCSs rather then smaller, 10,000 TEU box ships, with the larger ships calling more frequently at the northern ports.

"Containers can be transported to Southern Germany, the Czech Republic or Poland cheaper as well as more sustainably via North European ports than via Southern European ports," the Port of Rotterdam said.

"This is despite the fact that the container ships between Asia and Europe always take the Suez Canal with the ensuing shorter sailing route to southern ports such as Koper, Constanta and Genoa."

The report also noted that price is the most important criterion for major shippers and logistics companies, and while sustainability is a deal maker, it was "not a deal breaker yet."

The comments come following a report last month released by Drewry Supply Chain Advisors (Drewry), which suggests the dominance of traditional gateway ports in North-West Europe could be under threat, having found that for some shippers "better" routes from China exist via Mediterranean gateway ports.