Rotterdam port is most polluting in Europe, clean transport group says

Loading container ships in Rotterdam. Photo:
Rotterdam docks. Photo: VDW via

Rotterdam port is by far the most polluting in Europe and is responsible for emitting 13.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, according to research by clean transport campaign group Transport & Environment (T&E).

This, the group says, ‘a par with Europe’s fifth biggest industrial polluter – the Weisweiler coal power plant in Germany’.

Second on the list is Antwerp port with 7.4 million tonnes of carbon emissions, and third Hamburg with 4.7 million tonnes. Amsterdam port is in 10th place, with 2.1 million tonnes.

The study assesses carbon emissions from ships departing and entering ports as well as emissions from activities like loading, unloading and refueling.

T&E says the shipping industry is a fast-growing emitter and Europe’s ports have been reluctant to back mandates for clean fuels.

‘Ports can have a direct impact in greening our planet by providing clean shipping infrastructure,’ said T&E spokesman Jacob Armstrong. ‘This would also significantly improve the lives of those living near what are currently some of the most polluted places on earth.’

In Rotterdam and Amsterdam, the campaign group says, oil tankers account for the largest proportion of port emissions.

Rotterdam port is the largest sea port in Europe and the world’s largest outside East Asia. In terms of tonnage, it is also one of the biggest in the world.

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