Green Award inland waterway transport: something for me?

By: Jeroen Berger, May 16, 2018 (updated)

From 1 January 2011, there is a Green Award for inland waterway vessels, meeting the specific environmental standards. The objective of introducing a Green Award for the inland waterway transport, is to recognize ship owners which have done a lot more to make their inland waterway vessels “green” than the current requirements. What is a Green Award for inland navigation vessels exactly and what are the benefits?




The Green Award for the inland waterway transport sector comes from the Green Award Foundation established in 1994 in order to promote quality shipping amongst sea-going vessels. Since then, all over the world Green Award certifies ships, ship managers and oil companies that prove their dedication to high quality, safety and environmental standards.




What are the benefits of having a Green Award for your inland waterway vessel? Besides having an extra clean and safe inland waterway vessel, the benefits include image improvement, charterers’ preference, reduction on port dues, discounts on pilotage services and various trainings and reimbursement by a bank for a part of the certification costs.


What could be the reduction on port dues? I’ve been doing some research on this topic, and if we take the Rotterdam Port Authority as an example, then a discount of 15% is feasible with a score of less than 400 points for the main engine. A discount of 30% is also feasible, but that is only valid from 17 June 2014 and possible in case you have a score of 400 points and more for the main engines.


What could be the reimbursement by a bank? The Rabobank and the European Investment Bank (EIB) have also realized that investments being made by companies could have an impact to humans, the environment and society. By introducing the so-called Impact loan (an interest-rate reduction to 1,2% for new investment financing) they want to stimulate ship owners with inland waterway vessels to make them more sustainable.


Dynamic set of requirements


The Green Award program has a dynamic set of requirements. For example, contrary to the previous set of requirements the following points have been amended: more attention for new energy saving technologies, more benefits for clean engines, more emphasis on safety, the requirements consist now of two parts: engines and additional items and besides that a differentiation of levels within the certification program (bronze, silver and gold).




Download the Green Award requirements effective of 1-8-2017





The Green Award program for the inland waterway transport sector works according a rating system, which applies to the technical equipment on board and to the crew. This means that, you need to score a minimum number of points in order to receive a bronze, silver or gold Green Award certificate for your inland waterway vessel.


Good examples of requirements include items like compliance with CCR 2 emission level for main engines and auxiliary engines, dry bilge, propeller shaft seals, high-level alarm in fuel bunkers, closed grey water system, connection for shore side electricity, course ‘Smart steaming’, fuel consumption monitor / cruise control and a waste management plan.


For example, in case you will install a diesel particulate filter (DPF) and SCR catalyst, you are able to receive a lot of points in order to qualify for a Green Award certificate.


Green Award Platinum label


The Green Award Foundation has recently introduced a Platinum label in addition to existing Bronze, Silver and Gold certification levels within the Green Award program. This label is intended for inland waterway vessels operating emission-free. Specifically the Green Award Platinum label is for inland navigation ships that keep abreast of the times and operate several hours a day with zero emissions of CO2, SOx, NOx and PM. These emissions can be avoided by, for example, the use of electrical propulsion powered by batteries or fuel cells.


The Green Award Platinum will enter into force on 1 January 2018. Amsterdam and Zaanstad will be the first ports that will embrace the label. All inland waterway vessels, operating emission-free and in the possession of the Green Award Platinum label, will receive in these ports a discount of 20 percent on port dues.




As I said in the introduction of my blog post, the Green Award program started in 2011. During the first 5 years, starting from 2011, a part of the certification costs was financed by the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment (I&M) and by seaports participating in the National Ports’ Council of the Netherlands (NHR). This subsidy has made a relatively low price of the Green Award certificate possible. 


With effect from 1 January 2016, this subsidy has stopped. The tariffs in 2018 are comprised of Green Award certification costs for freight ships (for an inland waterway vessel you have to pay 755 euro excl. VAT and for a push barge by a ship 600 euro excl. VAT) and inland waterway passenger vessels. For this type of vessel you have to pay a basis fee of 600 euro + 0.19 euro per m2 excl. VAT. The validity of a Green Award certificate is three years.


Something for me?


The Green Award program for the inland shipping is open for dry cargo ships, tankers, container ships and push barges, but from 2017 advantages of the Green Award certificate are available for inland waterway passenger vessels too. Ferries, river cruise ships and day cruisers are eligible for the certification. The requirements for passenger ships are herewith similar to the requirements for freight inland vessels with focus on the safety and environmental aspects.


Later the Green Award certification can be possibly expanded to other ship types. If you want to investigate the possibilities for your ship, we from Berger Maritiem will be pleased to advice you how you are able to receive a bronze, silver or gold Green Award certificate for your inland waterway vessel. If you want to learn more about the Green Award, please have a look at the Green Award business case from A.J. van Vliet & Zn. This family business in the Netherlands has received a Green Award for her crane ship, which dates from 1964.


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