Antwerp, 15 February 2023
The port of Antwerp and Zeebrugge is Flanders' economic engine. It wants to make that engine sustainable. This way, future generations will also enjoy the prosperity and the many jobs created by the port. That is why it is committed to sustainable growth, in which the economy, climate and people are central.
To reinforce this ambition and to highlight the initiatives of the many port companies in this respect, every two years the port presents the Sustainable Port Award, formerly known as the Sustainability Award. Three companies already have the award in their trophy cabinet: BASF, CMB and Ecluse.
The finalists were announced on 15 February 2023 during a press conference at the Port House in Antwerp. The finalists are: Victrol (Antwerp), TotalEnergies (Antwerp), ICO (Zeebrugge) and Boluda Towage (Zeebrugge & Antwerp).
Boluda Towage ,,Frontrunner in emissions reduction”
As a pioneer, Boluda Towage developed its own way of retrofitting tugs to the highest IMO Tier-III emission standards according to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). 'In Zeebrugge, we made two tugs sustainable via this retrofit technique, and we also bought four new tugs that meet IMO Tier-III requirements,' clarifies Steven De Nijs, General Manager Belgium at Boluda Towage. This means an annualized emission reduction of 80% per tug and around 353 tons per year of NOx (nitrogen oxides) in Zeebrugge.
“Furthermore, six of the eight tugs in the port of Antwerp were converted to IMO Tier-II requirements. This resulted in an emission reduction of 30% per tug (200 tons per year)” said Stijn Van Beneden, Fleet Manager Belgium at Boluda Towage.
To further reduce its carbon footprint, Boluda Towage, in partnership with Onboard, implemented a module on its fleet for fuel consumption. This creates awareness about efficient fuel consumption and challenges us to apply fuel savings wherever possible. As of October 2021, this resulted in more than 260,000 liters of fuel savings and a 10% reduction in CO2 emissions.
Also, shore power has become the standard for tugboats at rest. This allows the tugs to turn off their engines while at the quayside, providing more peace and less noise for the crew. This resulted in a 33% emissions reduction.
Finally, Boluda Towage is conducting a feasibility study on the conversion of a traditional tug into a tug powered by hydrogen (H2). This project should further reduce CO2 emissions.
The voice of young people and public voting
The winner will be announced on 5 May 2023. To select that winner, a youth and public voting is running from today until 21 March 2023 via https://www.oursustainableport.com/
New since this edition is the youth jury, chaired by Tom Simillon (Young Challenger at The Shift & Sustainable Strategy Specialist at Proximus), with bachelor and master students from Ghent University, Howest, AMS, KU Leuven Campus Bruges & Ghent, Karel de Grote Hogeschool and Vives. After the online voting, the youth jury will indicate which project they prefer. Tom Simillon takes the young people's vote into the final jury, which will work with chairman Jos Delbeke to name the eventual winner.
Annick De Ridder, port alderman of the City of Antwerp and chairman of the board of Port of Antwerp-Bruges: "Our port is the economic engine of Flanders. That engine keeps running thanks to the investments we attract. It is a pity that the many and especially large investments in innovation and sustainability do not always get the attention they deserve in the media. More than half of all industrial spending goes on research and development and sustainability. With the Sustainable Port Award, we as Port of Antwerp-Bruges, together with Alfaport VOKA, APZI-Voka and Maatschappij Linkerscheldeoever, are therefore happy to put the spotlight on a few particularly clever and valuable initiatives."
Jos Delbeke, climate expert, professor and former Director-General for Climate at the European Commission: "We can only succeed in the climate transition if everyone does their part. Besides citizens and governments, there are also companies and economic actors. The creation of a low-carbon society creates many opportunities and possibilities for the deployment of technological innovations, not least in ports and related businesses. They are a crucial and essential link to make the climate transition an economic success as well."
All finalist-related information and the youth and public voting can be found at https://www.oursustainableport.com/