BPA urges 'grown-up' scrubbers conversation

Martin Lawlor Martin Lawlor: "We must have a grown up conversation about the implications of the use of open loop scrubbers in ports." Credit: BPA
Industry Database

The chairman of the British Ports Association (BPA) has called for ports industry concerns about contamination from open loop scrubbers to be addressed.

Speaking to an audience of MPs, Peers, and industry representatives at the House of Commons Martin Lawlor, who is also chief executive of the Port of Blyth, warned that the ports industry is becoming increasingly concerned about the potential for sediment contamination building up in berths and navigation channels and clarity is now needed on the effects of open loop scrubber use.

“Ports take their environmental responsibilities seriously and with IMO targets ships will have some tough decisions. However we must have a grown up conversation about the implications of the use of open loop scrubbers in ports,” Mr Lawlor said. “There is a concern that such systems could lead to the build up of contaminated sediments which over time could cause a real issue for ports wishing to maintain and develop their operations.”

Stability needed

He also urged a quick Brexit with a “return to stability”, alongside a “relentless focus on ensuring that the business environment is one where businesses can invest and grow, with access to the skills they need”. Additionally, he stressed that ports and shipping are very much part of the solution to climate change and UK decarbonisation challenges.

Harry Theochari, chairman of Maritime UK, also addressed the meeting. Mr Theochari highlighted research for the BPA that found there is GB£1.7bn of port infrastructure investment in the pipeline and called on the government to ensure it does its part by supporting better port connectivity and a better planning system. He went on to say that the industry must capitalise on the increased profile of the sector.

A new industry working group on open loop scrubbers, organised by the BPA and UK Major Ports Group (UKMPG), is taking its concerns about impact on sediment quality to the Department for Transport.

By Rebecca Jeffrey

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