(Article by Helen Hill, published in Lloyd's List, 06-01-2003)
Amsterdam Municipal Port Authority has introduced a 6% discount on its port charges from January 1 for vessels carrying the Green Award certificate. Introduced in 1994 as an initiative of Dutch port authorities and the government, the Green Award means that vessels have been investigated and are proved to be in good technical condition as well as having a well trained crew, good ownership and land management support at their disposal.
Amsterdam port authority hopes that the new discount scheme will encourage owner to apply for and obtain the Green Award, which would in turn upgrade the safety of the environment at sea and in the port.
Owners have to pay for the investigation to obtain the certificate, which is then submitted to annual inspections and updated every three years. Amsterdam port alderman Mark van der Horst, said: "With this system Amsterdam want to help to reduce the numbers of 'unsafe ships'. "Accidents caused by badly maintained vessels or unprofessional actions of crews during calamities must be prevented. Accidents such as the Prestige must not be allowed to happen".
Amsterdam is the second port to acknowledge the certificate for dry bulk ships. Crude oil, product tankers and bulk carriers with a minimum deadweight of 20.000 tonnes are eligible for the scheme.
In future the Green Award Foundation, which includes 44 ports in seven countries, hopes to offer the certificate to container vessels. Participating ports offer discounts on their port charges to woo shipowners. In addition, some pilot, crew tugboat and other organisations offer tempting conditions to the holders of the certificate.
Amsterdam port authority said that together with the foundation it would approach other service providers in the North Sea Canal region in a bid to convince them to apply favourable terms to the holders of the certificate. So far 166 vessels belonging to 30 shipowners have been certified."