Rotterdam Maritime Services Community – In the limelight
As a former seafarer Jan Fransen, Green Award’s Executive Director, knows the ins and outs of the global shipping industry. Because of the international focus of the organisation Fransen spends lot of time abroad, he just came back from a trip to Athens. Nevertheless Fransen believes that it is also important to be involved in the maritime network in Rotterdam to stay up to date with current affairs. Or as he states it: ‘Keeping an eye on my home port.’ Although, improving environmental and safety standards in international shipping can only be achieved through international coalitions. After being informally involved with the Rotterdam Maritime Services Community (RMSC) Green Award recently became a full member. This year Green Award will celebrate its 25th anniversary. An impressive milestone and a good reason to put the organisation into the limelight.
Green Award was founded in 1994 to stimulate the shipping industry to improve its sustainability and safety standards on a voluntary basis. Aimed to achieve cleaner and safer transport of goods. This is done through a special certification scheme for ships that go beyond industry standards. When ships comply with the dynamic requirements, set by Green Award in close cooperation with industry representatives, they can apply for certification. Initially only applicable to oil tankers, nowadays the scheme covers various types of other vessels as well. By doing so ship owners and the shipping industry commit themselves to operate in an social responsible and sustainable manner. Besides sustainability benefits they also receive a financial incentive through reduced port fees in participating ports. Currently 36 seaports worldwide offer this incentive to ships that carry a Green Award certificate. Since 2012 inland ports also started to join, resulting in 28 participating ports. In addition to ports several other types of organisations such as banks, class bureaus, and equipment suppliers offer incentives to certified ships, amounting up to over 70 companies. To ensure sound and economically viable certification, standards are regularly updated by Green Award. Always in close collaboration with international industry experts. The organisation has quite an impressive track record. In 25 years they have received no complaints about their ruling on whether or not to reward applicants with certification or continuation of certificate holders.
Fransen elaborates on becoming an RMSC member: ‘Rotterdam has an outstanding reputation, the port and the services industry provided are one of the best of its kind. Although it may no longer be world number 1 in terms of size, it is definitely still seen as one of the most advanced. Besides ships calling Rotterdam to deliver and take their cargoes, many shipping companies take the opportunity to have their ship serviced on all kind of aspects like surveys, repairs, maintenance, crew change, etc. I also get the impression more and more international ship owners are having certain staff stationed in the Rotterdam region supporting their Rotterdam calling ships. To see and learn how we do things over here. Also with respect to environmental protection solutions.’ According to Fransen this development creates great opportunities for the Dutch maritime services industry, giving it a solid competitive edge. He believes that to be able to achieve common prosperity it is important to be part of the local network. Hence, it is crucial to keep an eye on your home port!