Port of Rotterdam adopts Green Award for new EU shipping sustainability incentives

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The Port of Rotterdam says it has cemented its position as a leader in sustainable shipping by becoming the first EU port to utilise Green Award Foundation’s specialised Ship Waste module programme to verify ships meeting new environmental performance criteria enacted this year.

Recent EU regulations require member state ports to grant discounts on waste fees to ships that can demonstrate reduced waste volumes and sustainable management practices.

Drawing on over 30 years of experience auditing and incentivising responsible shipping, Green Award launched a tailored module aligned with EU sustainability benchmarks. Independent verification through Green Award allows ships meeting these exacting new voluntary standards to benefit from waste fee discounts up to 32% when calling at accredited ports.

Commenting on this precedent, Jan Fransen, Executive Director at Green Award Foundation said: “We commend the Port of Rotterdam on being the first port to take advantage of Green Award Foundation’s specialised certification programme.

“Over one-third of ships now eligible for Rotterdam’s waste fee discount under these EU sustainability criteria actively chose to undertake Green Award’s rigorous certification process in advance of regulations taking force this year. Their foresight and voluntary steps to implement responsible waste practices consistent with Green Award standards demonstrates that financial incentives catalyse market-driven acceleration beyond basic compliance.”

To date, 38 ships have successfully completed evaluations by Green Award auditors and qualified for discounted waste fees at the Port of Rotterdam. The assessed vessels are currently all Green Award certified ships, but the Ship Waste module is also open to non-certified ships. With strict sustainability requirements now tied to financial benefits, Green Award verification provides a clear pathway for ships to maximise savings while accelerating the spread of environmentally sound waste management practices across the industry.

“Our expanded certification scheme allows leading ports like Rotterdam to reward vessel operators going above and beyond baseline regulations,” Fransen explained. “By harnessing independent verification tools instead of administrative burdens, these incentives create a market-driven race to the top.”

Other major European ports are currently working to integrate The Green Award’s verification services for determining ships that meet the EU waste discount criteria.

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