June 8 - Environment-friendly ships calling at the heavy lift and break bulk gateway of Antwerp will earn their owners more than just brownie points: real financial rewards will be generated for 'clean ships', thanks to a decision by the Port Authority's

The port says: "Antwerp Port Authority uses low-sulphur fuel for its own fleet. In addition, ships and barges are able to use onshore power supplies at various locations in the port, so they do not have to run their engines while at berth."

In order to further reduce emissions of pollutants such as NOx and SOx, from July 1 the most environment-friendly ships will be granted a discount of 10 percent on the tonnage dues.

This measure follows an initiative by the International Association of Ports and Harbours (IAPH), in which the port authorities of Le Havre, Bremen, Hamburg, Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Antwerp introduced the Environmental Ship Index (ESI).

On the basis of the data entered, such as fuel consumption and emissions, each ship is given a score on a scale from 0 to 100 (from highly polluting to emission-free). So far more than 250 ships have been given a score. The ports themselves decide what advantages to offer participating ships.

In the case of Antwerp, seagoing ships with a score of 31 or more will be granted a discount of 10 percent on the tonnage dues. The Port Authority will guarantee this discount for a period of at least three years, so offering continuity for shipping companies that invest in improving the ESI score of their ships.

The Port of Antwerp is a key heavy lift and project cargo portal for European cargo, handling some 13.7 million tonnes of break bulk shipping, including ro-ro and project cargo, every year.