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London hosts global port environment experts

The Port of London Authority (PLA) hosted 20 specialists from ports and incentive providers around the world recently, when the steering group for the Environmental Ship Index (ESI) met in London.

The experts, from ports including Rotterdam, Marseille, Los Angeles and Panama met over two days to help shape the next phase in the development of the ESI. The Index identifies seagoing ships that perform better in reducing air emissions than required by the current emission standards of the International Maritime Organization. The PLA uses it as the basis for identifying ships which qualify for its green tariff of discounted port charges.

The ESI is one of the key initiatives of the World Ports Sustainability Program (WPSP), which captures the world’s key ports’ commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while continuing their role as transportation and economic centres. Embracing oxides of nitrogen and sulphur dioxide emissions, it provides a comprehensive assessment of ships’ environmental performance.

The WPSP is overseen by the International Association of Ports and Harbors. Their managing director-policy and strategy, Patrick Verhoeven, said: “Port of London is the country’s first port authority setting out an air quality strategy which includes incentivised discounts for ships based on their environmental performance on emissions. The World Ports Sustainability initiative is all about learning from each other, so having their contribution around the table has been invaluable.”

PLA chief executive, Robin Mortimer comments: “The Environmental Ships Index was an essential building block when we looked at how to incentivise change and for cleaner ships to call on the Thames. The exchange with international environmental experts has been invaluable as we look continuously to improve the performance of the port.”

The PLA will be increasing the "green discount" for ships achieving at least an ESI score of 30 over legal compliance from January and will be introducing its own hybrid powered pilot cutter – believed to be one of the first in the world – to its operations in 2019.

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Notes to editors:

About the Port of London Authority

  • The PLA works to ensure navigational safety along the tidal Thames, sharing its marine, environmental, planning and other expertise to promote use of the river and safeguard its unique marine environment.
  • The tidal Thames is one of the UK’s busiest waterways and is home to the country’s second biggest port by tonnage of goods handled.
  • Find out more: www.pla.co.uk
  • Follow us: @LondonPortAuth

About the World Ports Sustainability Program (WPSP)

  • In March 2018 the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) launched the World Ports Sustainability Program. Guided by the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals the program wants to enhance and coordinate future sustainability efforts of ports worldwide and foster international cooperation with partners in the supply chain.
  • The World Ports Sustainability Program covers five main areas of collaboration between IAPH member ports: resilient infrastructure, climate and energy, safety and security, community outreach and port-city dialogue, governance and ethics.


Alistair Gale
Port of London Authority
Mob: 07711-440736

Antonis Michail
Technical Director
World Ports Sustainability Program
Email : antonis.michail@sustainableworldports.org