The Chinese Ministry of Transport has released detailed guidance for a set of emissions control areas at major Chinese ports. These will be called as ECZs (Emission Control Zones) and will require the use of low-sulfur fuels at eleven major Chinese ports.
- From January 1, 2016, ships calling the eleven core ports of Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Zhujiang, Shanghai, Ningbo‐Zhoushan, Suzhou, Nantong, Tianjin, Qinhuangdao, Tangshan and Huanghua will be part of a voluntary scheme for ships to use a low sulphur fuel (0.5%) while at berth. This is similar to the regulation brought by Hong Kong before implementation of their ECA.
- Beginning on January 1, 2017, all ships calling at the eleven core ports will be required to use fuel with no more than 0.5% sulfur while at berth.
- From Jan 1, 2018, the at‐berth fuel switching requirement will be extended to all ports in the three Chinese port regions, namely
- the Pearl River Delta (PRD),
- the Yangtze River Delta (YRD) and
- the Bohai Bay.
- Beginning on January 1, 2019, the clean fuel requirement will be further extended to cover all ships operating anywhere within the emission control zones (ECZs) in the three port regions. These ECZs cover the territorial waters (12 nautical miles off the coastline) of the PRD and YRD, as well as the Bohai Bay. The MOT will carry out a review by the end of 2019 to determine if stricter fuel quality requirements should be imposed going forward. The options being considered include further tightening the fuel sulfur standard to 0.1% and expanding the coverage of the ECZs. The MOT does allow the use of alternative measures such as shore power, clean energy and exhaust gas treatment options such as scrubbers to meet the regulations. The MOT regulation document is attached and includes a map of the ECZs
This mandate is the first of its kind outside of the EU and the United States. Its specifications for fuel still allow five times the sulfur permitted under the IMO’s Tier IV standard for formal ECAs, and they do not begin right away – but they will have the effect of implementing global regulations one year ahead of schedule. The IMO’s Tier IV worldwide standard of 0.5% maximum fuel sulfur content – the same as China’s ECZ requirement in 2019 – will go into effect in 2020.