The government is offering subsidies to shipping line operators who voluntarily reduce the operating speed of large ships when they enter the nation’s seaports, with each ship receiving NT$8,000 (US$270) for doing so.
The program was introduced to curb emissions of air pollutants as part of the government’s efforts in addressing the deteriorating air quality in the southern Taiwan, the Taiwan International Ports Corp (TIPC) said on Wednesday.
The Kaohsiung-based state-run company said it has been encouraging large vessels to lower their speed to below 12 knots per hour when entering within 20 nautical miles of seaports since 2012.
However, most of them still sail 18 knots per hour, the company said.
Experiences in other countries have shown that ships can reduce their emissions better when they operate at 12 knots per hour or slower, TIPC said.
The budget for the program is NT$32 million this year, including NT$22 million from TIPC and NT$10 million from the Environmental Protection Administration, the company said.
International cruise ships and ships with a cargo capacity of more than 10,000 tonnes entering any of the nation’s international seaports would be subsidized if they meet the standards, it said.
Meanwhile, the Maritime and Ports Bureau has this year set aside a budget of NT$45 million for a trial program to encourage international shipping lines to switch to low-sulfur fuel when they operate close to sea ports.
Each ship that does so will be entitled to a subsidy of NT$5,000.
TIPC estimated that 5,000 tonnes of air pollutants within port zones can be cut through the programs, including 3,832 tonnes of sulfur oxides.
The subsidies would also help curb particulate matter pollution by 21 percent, it said.
Ships are also encouraged to connect to on-shore power supplies when they dock, instead of using their own onboard diesel-powered electricity systems.
The company said that ports are exempt from paying the electricity charge, adding that it is negotiating a discount with the Taiwan Power Co based on its large electricity consumption.
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